One of the funnest things about marriage (or simply, being together for a pretty long time), is getting to begin your own couple traditions. For us this usually all centers around the holidays, for example, during Christmastime we decorate our apartment with our collected Christmas decorations, including Kyle's lego nativity set. We usually hang battery-powered butterfly lights around the windows and in our bedroom, and watch a couple of Christmas movies while wearing cozy sweaters and socks. (Although, this year it may not include the sweaters part, depending on the Texas "winter.") For autumn, we started going to the farmer's market or grocery store and buying a few of those weird-shaped gourds and small pumpkins to place around the apartment. It also involves another lego set, but this one is Halloween themed so it's "completely different". And then there's the pumpkin bread making! This is the most crucial step to our small set of autumn traditions.
I remember last year when I made this spiced pumpkin loaf in our tiny Harlem apartment in NYC. It was a chilly day and Kyle came home from his Saturday shift to the smell of freshly baked pumpkin throughout the apartment. I'm sure later that day we went for a long walk through Central Park, or got Asian food in Hell's Kitchen, or maybe hot chocolate at one of the many cute coffee shops. (Because our weekends mostly revolved around exploring the NY food scene and then walking it all off in Central Park.) All this is to say that when I make pumpkin bread, I think of the autumn season before that, and the one before that, and it's comforting and wistful and reminiscent of those good memories. It's one of those positive feelings you have to experience at least once or twice per year.
And so, when October 1st rolled around this past weekend, I knew it was about time to make the annual pumpkin bread. This version puffed up perfectly over the top and the amount of spices was just perfect. I added pepitas to the top for added crunch. They are also such a good snack on their own!
The Easiest Pumpkin Loaf (makes one loaf)
adapted from i am a food blog
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- crushed or whole pepitas (optional)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease (or line with parchment paper) a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar. Add each egg, one at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract and the pumpkin. Blend until smooth.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, mixing until completely smooth. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, topping with pepitas.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Begin checking at the 1 hour mark. Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for an additional 20 minutes, and then remove from pan. Serve with coffee or tea and flannel pajamas.