Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pecan Pumpkin Bread

As some of you may know, as recently as last year, I was a pecan't convert. I became a fan of pecans which opened up a whole world of crunchy, delicious baking opportunities. This includes pecan pumpkin bread, and as an added twist, it's vegan friendly! I'm not sure that vegan should be alarming to anyone, nothing like sugar free (jokes, sugar free things taste pretty good usually) and yet I decided to get people's opinions before sharing that it was vegan.

Being a vegan recipe was pretty convenient as I didn't have much butter left in my fridge. It's also excellent that one batch makes two loaves: one for work and one for my own consumption.  Using only one small can of pumpkin and festive fall spices makes this bread taste like the spirit of fall. Pecan pieces, or in this case whole pecans out of laziness, add a nice crunch. During the baking process, they get slightly toasted. Honestly I hardly noticed the difference in texture that the pecans provided. Typically my issue with having nuts in breads is the texture conflict between the crunch and softness of the bread. Not so in this case.

Breads make an excellent gift: hostess or friend or visiting guest or colleague. It takes thought and time and when sent to my grandma, baked with love. Sorry folks, half of you are getting baked goods for Christmas instead of 'real' gifts. But I promise they'll be good and thoughtful.

And check it out, we got fancy with decorating the bread with pecans too! Of course I made a few adjustments. I used dark brown sugar which has more molasses than light brown sugar. I also had juuuust enough flour for this bad boy. 

Lastly, in true fall fashion, I went apple picking (and wine tasting, super classy) today! The fall foliage is coming in quite nicely and it was a beautiful day that will lead to tart and crisp treats. Stay tuned!

Recipe from Joy the Baker:

-3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 cups packed light brown sugar
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder 
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or just nutmeg)
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground allspice
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
-1 cup vegetable or canola oil
-1/3 cup pure maple syrup
-1/3 cup water
-1 cup chopped pecans with 8 whole ones for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8x4x3-inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (through ground cloves)
3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the wet ingrdients (through water)
4. Add the wet and dry ingredients together. Make sure to incorporate all the ingredients and then fold in the pecans.
5. Divide the batter between the two pans. Decorate with whole pecans.
6. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.
7. Once baked, let rest in pan for 20 minutes before inverting on cooling rack.

Serve warm with ice cream or nutella or enjoy plain!

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