Since it's October and we're talking pumpkin, I had to revisit one of my favorite recipes. I have a November 1st deadline, but I can guarantee you that once that deadline has been met, making this bread will be at the top of my list.
During October and November, I'm all about pumpkin. Just love the stuff. And one of my annual traditions (love those, too) is a make a big batch of pumpkin bread that I can give as gifts. I tried several different recipes before settling on this one about fifteen years ago. Can you believe I was baking at ten? :-)
I've also cut the recipe in half a time or two and, of course, if you make large loaves, you won't have as many. You should see my freezer. It's full of all these plastic and foil wrapped bundles of joy. Now if I could convince the seventeen year old boy they're not single-serving-sized, they'd quit disappearing.
So here we go. You're gonna need A REALLY BIG BOWL. I have a commercial size one I use for this recipe. You can mix by hand or use an electric mixer. I usually break out my electric hand mixer since this bowl will in no way, shape, or form fit under my Kitchen Aid.
- 2 1/4 cups (that's 4 1/2 sticks) butter (I use unsalted)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses
- 6 cups sugar
- 12 eggs (told you it was big)
- 2 cups orange juice (the OJ was AWOL during the group photo)
- 6 cups pumpkin puree (that's 2 - 29 oz. cans)
- 10 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 3 cups raisins
Cream butter, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mindy tip: Molasses has the consistency of tar, so I spray my measuring cup/spoon with some cooking spray before measuring the molasses. Just a little bit means all of the molasses releases into the bowl and I'm not scraping out what refuses to let go of the utensil.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat until light and lemon colored. (I don't know, does this look like lemon to you?)
Add orange juice and pumpkin and mix well.
Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl and add to pumpkin mixture, stirring well to thoroughly combine all elements. (I use my mixer as long as I can, but switch to a spoon as it thickens and, frankly, is too deep for the mixer to properly blend)
Stir in raisins.
WARNING: If you are a person who likes to sample batter, regardless of the threat of raw eggs, this stuff is addicting. I'm just sayin'.
Spoon into greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Since I use the smaller pans, they only bake for about 35-40 minutes.
While we will not comment about the condition of the oven floor thanks to two teenage boys and countless take and bake pizzas, this time of year I'm really wishin' I had a convection oven so I could put things on the other rack and they'd actually cook evenly. But alas, that dream will have to wait for another year. Or a book contract :-P
You can also see that the pans I use are varied. I have six official pans, but I have dozens of the foil-type that I simply wash and reuse year after year.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto racks to cool. Aren't they cute. It's like a bread nursery.
Once they've cooled, I wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil and keep them in the freezer. They keep for months. These make great gifts for neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and whoever you just want to know you're thankful for them. For a really nice presentation, simply place the unwrapped bread (sometimes I leave the clear plastic wrap on) into a cellophane bag and tie with some raffia or a pretty ribbon.
I can hardly wait to get baking again. This recipe makes the house smell so good. That cloves, cinnamon, pumpkin combination is far better than any Glade Plug-In. But best of all is that you get to taste it, too.