The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Simple Cooking - Spiced Pumpkin Bread

By Staff in Food on Oct 28, 2010 6:00PM

To many Chicagoans, the flavor of pumpkin is synonymous with fall, which is unsurprising since Illinois is one of the top pumpkin producers for the whole country. Thanks to the nasty, wet summer we had last year, consumers nationwide experienced an extreme canned pumpkin shortage. Now that last year’s pumpkin shortage is over, you can make this spicy, nutty pumpkin bread with just a few ingredients from your pantry and around town.

What are pepitas? If you’ve ever roasted the pumpkin seeds you scooped out of your jack-o-lantern, split open the shells and eaten the seed inside, you’ve eaten pepitas. They are available at most health food stores or Latin/Hispanic grocers, or just save your own from this weekend’s carving adventures. Note well, though, that you only want the edible seed inside the white shell. This is most easily achieved by roasting for 15 minutes at 400, flipping once, and cracking the shells open to retrieve the seeds inside.

Chicagoist’s Nutty Spiced Pumpkin Bread
(Makes two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans, or two 8-inch cake pans)

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or your own mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed firm
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, half melted
3 eggs
16 ounces canned pumpkin (real pumpkin, not the pie mix, available at most grocery stores)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (available by the pound at Whole Foods)
3/4 cup pepitas (available by the pound at Whole Foods)

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder) in a large bowl and stir to mix.

In a separate bowl or using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the white and brown sugars, butter, and eggs. Beat until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and stir to incorporate. Using small batches, gradually beat in the dry ingredients to incorporate. When all the dry ingredients have been added, slowly stir in the chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into greased and floured pans. (Greasing and flouring the bottom of your cake pans helps ensure that the edges come out clean and smooth.) Sprinkle pepitas over the top of the batter. Bake for one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Happy Fall!

By Caitlin Roth