October 17, 2013

Pumpkin-Carrot Bread

From "Navarathri" sundal recipes to "fall-inspired" pumpkin bread.. a big shift indeed! It just isn't me, but this time of the year.. bold & bright shades of yellows & reds, frosty mornings, cold evenings, spirit of thanks-giving & halloween in the air, smell of cinnamon, ginger & baked caramel apples, celebrations & such.. the season that contains all these beautiful things in itself.. Autumn (or) Fall, warrants for such wonderful treats!

Now, why is a bread being celebrated as a treat?!?!? Well, this is not any simple bread.. this bread is made with the "most celebrated" vegetable of the season, pumpkin and spiced up with seasonal-favorites cinnamon & ginger and baked to perfection... now, how does that sound... yummy, right?!?! Wait until you bake, not only to enjoy the bread, but also to know what holiday, family & fun times smells like.. The smell & taste of this bread is truly comforting and perfectly captures the mood of the season. Especially with that home-made pumpkin puree... life is good... can't get any better!

This is an adapted & slightly modified recipe of "Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread" from "joythebaker" to make one loaf of moist, spicy & chewy "Pumpkin-Carrot Bread". I skipped walnuts in the recipe, and replaced it with 2/3 cups of grated carrot instead. Adding carrot to the recipe is truly a winner.. carrots not only boosted up the nutritional value of the bread, but also gave that orangish hue, a touch of "autumn", to the bread.. really beautiful! 

This is a quick bread, one of those non-yeasted kinds, where baking soda/powder is used as the leavening agent. Preparation of the batter is very similar to making muffins, dry & wet ingredients are mixed separately and then, combined gently to bake.

The bread took about an hour for baking and the entire house was filled with a pleasant cinnamon-y & ginger-y aroma, reminding me of upcoming holidays! I simply couldn't wait to taste the bread after I got it out of the oven. I took the first bite and I was truly ecstatic... the taste & texture reminded me of Starbuck's bread! To top it, one of the finickiest critics of my house, my daughter, approved this bread of its taste.. she loved the dark brown crust, the best part of all! My li'l one & myself, we love anything with sugar and so, no complaints! We simply loved its chewy texture & taste! Well, ignore VJ, he is anyway not a big fan of cinnamon-y treats!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 20 mins
Cook time - 1 hr + 30 mins for cooling
Serves - 1 loaf

All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
Light brown sugar (packed) - 1/2 cup
Regular sugar / Baker's sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Cinnamon - 3/4 tsp
Ginger powder - 3/4 tsp
Black-Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp

Pumpkin puree - 1 1/4 cups
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
Maple syrup / Honey - 3 tbsp
Water - 3 tbsp

Shredded carrots (packed) - 2/3 cup

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

Grease a bread pan with butter and set it aside.

Sieve all the dry ingredients all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, light brown sugar, regular sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger powder, black-pepper powder through a fine sieve twice, so that all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.

Whisk all the wet ingredients together (pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, maple syrup/honey, water) until combined.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix gently using a spatula.

Finally fold in the shredded carrots into the batter. Pour this batter into the bread pan and bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes clean.

Let it cool for atleast 30 mins and simply, devour!

Serve it for breakfast (or) as a dessert, this pumpkin bread is truly comforting & delicious! Serve it as a slice with slathered nutella on top for breakfast! Cut it into small bite-sized cubes, top it with your favorite frosting and serve it as a snack / dessert and enjoy! Just one thing, don't mix up between the toppings & time of the day!

How to make Pumpkin Puree at home
Preheat oven to 450 deg F.

Cut the top around the stem off and chop small-sized pumpkin into quarters.

Fill 1/4 th of a cake pan with water and place pumpkins with the skin facing upwards. Bake for 45 mins - 1 hr or until the pumpkins are soft & done.

Let it cool completely, peel the skin and puree the flesh in a blender / food processor.

I got about 2 cups of pumpkin puree from a small sized pumpkin.