SMiLes by Meg

Pumpkin Chai Bread

I have been having the most lovely vacation. Erik and I spent most of the week backpacking in Shenandoah National Park, and I don’t think better weather existed. We didn’t see a single cloud, it was crisp enough not to overheat but warm in the sun, and the leaves were just starting to change.

Obviously, with such perfect Fall weather, I’ve been in a very Fall mood, and have wanted all things pumpkin all week. I picked up some mellowcreme pumpkins (the definitive best Halloween-specific candy), a pumpkin spice Yankee candle, made a pumpkin curry last night and impulse bought some La Colombe pumpkin draft lattes. And I made this perfectly spiced pumpkin chai bread!

Erik is a bit beside himself, given he’s actually going pumpkin picking tomorrow with his work colleagues. He couldn’t grasp why I wouldn’t wait to make pumpkin things until he picked us up a fresh pumpkin. I think he’s beginning to understand, though, that there really isn’t a limit to the amount of pumpkin things I can make between now and Thanksgiving.

We finished this bread in under two days (with the help of some friends who came over for roof drinks), and enjoyed it a number of ways – on it’s own, fresh from the oven, served with some homemade whipped cream, and grilled the next morning with a pat of butter.

I cannot emphasize enough how much you need this bread in your life.

Start by preparing the spice mix. In a small dish, whisk together the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spice mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the pumpkin purée, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and 1 1/3 cups of the sugar. Whisk on medium low speed until just combined, and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Don’t mind the tahini in that picture – I’m also planning on making some hummus this weekend. I keep very busy on my vacations, I just do so with activities I enjoy (like cooking and baking).

With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients, beating until just comes together. Scrape down the sides and beat for an additional 15 seconds on medium.

Scrape the batter into a 9×5 loaf pan sprayed with Pam baking spray (or lined with parchment paper). Use an offset spatula to smooth the top.

Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top of the batter.

Yes, it’s a lot of sugar. But you know how you get that crisp crunchy coating on breads and muffins? A lot of sugar.

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. I let mine cool mostly in the pan before turning out, but as long as you wait about 10 minutes, it should pop right out.

Look at that craggy surface! Don’t you want to just start picking off the top to snack on?

This bread stays nice and moist (thanks, sunflower oil!), and will keep at room temperature, wrapped in tin foil, for a couple of days.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chai Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (8.15 ounces) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups (9.35 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. In a small dish, whisk together the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg with a fork.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spice mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the pumpkin purée, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and 1 1/3 cups sugar. Whisk on medium low until combined, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  4. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, beating to fully incorporate after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk on medium for 15 seconds.
  6. Transfer batter into a 9×5 loaf pan sprayed with baking spray (or lined with parchment paper). Smooth the top with an offset spatula, and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over batter.
  7. Place loaf pan on baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 60 to 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before transferring to wire rack.

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