Spiced Molasses Pumpkin Bread

OK, now you didn’t really believe me when I said last week that every post that’s not pasta is just filler until I can get another pasta recipe up there, did you?  Of course you didn’t, because that would be like sort of weird.  Not the believing me part, but if I had actually meant it.  Which I didn’t.

I might have been exaggerating just a teensy bit just to drive home the point that my affection for pasta is not like some schoolgirl crush or puppy love or anything like that.  It’s real.  It’s serious.  And I might need professional help.

But to prove to you that I’m really not that one dimensional, I made pumpkin bread this week.  See?  No pasta.  There’s no pasta hidden inside the bread or lurking off to the side of the photo. 

I wasn’t slurping linguini while I was shooting the photos.  Nothing like that.  I was actually hurrying the whole process along so that I could have another piece with cream cheese on it.  Cream cheese on pumpkin bread rocks.

Actually, this particular pumpkin bread rocks as well.  I’ve been making this bread for a few years now and it’s my go-to fall pumpkin bread.  And I always add raisins.  I must have raisins because the world just feels a little off-kilter, unbalanced, if you will, if they are missing.  But I’ve just begun to imagine a different sort of pumpkin bread… the kind with chocolate chips in it, and I’m very much warming to this idea.

I should tell you that this recipe comes to us from the good folks at Bon Appetit; it was from the November, 1995 issue, so I think I’ve been making this bread a little longer than I thought.  But I sort of like that.  You know that if you’ve been making something for like 15 years or more, it has a quality of reliability and tradition that somehow makes it more believable.  Maybe even more meaningful.  I think pumpkin bread should be meaningful.

So, it’s fall, we’re all thinking about pumpkins, right?  At least that’s what I’m told.  So right now pumpkin bread seems highly appropriate and heartwarmingly delicious.  Here’s my recipe…


Click here for a printable recipe

Yield: Makes 2 loaves (8 ½ x 4 1/2)

This is a very moist, flavorful bread.   I use a slightly chunky applesauce, so there are bits of apple in the bread too.  I've tried all different kinds of canned pumpkin, but for some reason, the Libby's brand always seems to impart the most flavor.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

¾ cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup molasses
½ cup applesauce
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts (or more if you like it nuttier)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8 ½ x 4 ½ -inch loaf pans.  

Beat the sugar and oil in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the eggs, applesauce, molasses and pumpkin. 

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder together.  Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in the walnuts and raisins, if desired.

Divide the batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edge of the loaves to loosen. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

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