Pumpkin Streusel Bread (recipe)
You know something is not right when you are considering buying things online just so the mailman has to deliver packages to your door. Human interaction! Tell me about the outside world! And that’s really saying something because my mailman is grumpy and grunty. But desperate times call for desperate measures. With some exciting exceptions (the bank! grocery store!), I have been trapped inside my home with four young children + one large stomach flu + two small colds for longer than recommended by the Board of Mental Health and Well Being. It hasn’t been pretty, folks.
This is coming from a total homebody, but there is a definite difference between wanting to stay home and needing to stay home. I would rather be home than anywhere else in the world, but when there is no alternative, I start to feel panicky, like I won’t remember how to use my debit card pin or have a normal conversation.
When another eternal day is stretching before me, baking is my sanity saver. Weird, I know. I guess it makes the house feel warm and cozy and me feel calm and productive. At the end of the day, I have accomplished something different than the daily demands of diapers and laundry. I turn into Tom Hanks in Castaway. YES! LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE CREATED! I HAVE MADE BREAD!
Pumpkin bread, to be exact. I started making this recipe, from Cooking Light magazine, when it was first featured back in 2000. That’s a long relationship with the same recipe. It’s still my favorite. The bread is dense and chewy, packed with pumpkin and spice and everything nice. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s a sweet, crunchy streusel baked on top. You can also bake these up into muffins. Both are freezer friendly.
I looked at over a dozen typical pumpkin bread recipes and most called for more than double the amounts of sugar and oil. That’s two cups of sugar! This low fat, low sugar recipe relies on honey as the main sweetener, with just a bit of brown sugar. And the oil is cut to just 1/4 cup by adding plain yogurt. One cup of oil is standard for most quick bread recipes. So basically, this version is health food. I’m not a nutritionist or anything, but feel free to quote me on that.
Whether you are home by force or by choice, bake some pumpkin bread. It will make (almost) everything right in your world (Unless you are gluten-free. Then make these instead.)
Pumpkin Streusel Bread
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe
1/4 c. chopped pecans or almonds
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. each ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg
1 c. canned pumpkin (or homemade)
1/2 c. plain yogurt (or homemade)
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- To make the topping, combine the nuts, sugar, butter, and ground cinnamon until crumbly. Set aside.
- To make the bread, combine the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin through eggs); add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until moist.
- Spoon batter into a greased 9 x 5″ loaf pan or muffin pan; sprinkle with streusel topping and gently/barely push it into the batter to help it stay in place. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour (bread) or 20 minutes (muffins) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
I prefer cooking and baking with cast iron pans for a variety of reasons. My current loaf pans are stoneware or glass, but a good quality, cast iron loaf pan is at the top of my wish list.
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