Friday, October 22, 2010

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread as a mini-loaf

I wish I had made a note of the date the first time I made this recipe. I believe it was the first "bread" I ever attempted to make (although come to think of it, I probably made banana bread about the same time).

If memory serves me correctly, the original recipe was clipped out of an early Taste of Home magazine. I messed around with different toppings I thought might add to its deliciousness. You know, if you can add pizazz, why not.

Many years ago in the dead of winter, when the kids were still very little, I can remember standing in my kitchen and hearing a strange noise. I had no idea what it was. As I looked out our front window, I found a man, all bundled-up, using a snow blower to clear our driveway. I walked outside to find our new neighbor (they had only moved into their house a few months prior) hiding beneath the big hat and scarf. He said, "You know, I'm retired and I see your husband works long days and is a young father. I have lots of time on my hands. I remember what it was like having so many responsibilities. This gives me something to do and he won't have to worry about shoveling the driveway when he gets home."

Wow, is right.

Although he later protested, I couldn't let this opportunity go by without thanking him in a special way. I delivered warm pumpkin bread to him and his wife. I used my homemade cinnamon and sugar topping (which, when baked, creates a crunchy crust) and later found he absolutely loved it. And so every time Cliff would come and snow blow the driveway, I found my way to his house with warm pumpkin bread. He and his wife were two beautiful people and lovely neighbors.

I remember just a couple of summers later seeing Cliff and his wife at the post office. I said hello and commented to him about his new pick-up truck. He didn't seem himself, but I didn't make a big deal of it. I figured that maybe I had caught him at a bad time. A short while later I saw his wife out in the front yard working alongside her grandchildren. But I didn't see Cliff. Imagine my absolute shock to find out that Cliff had been diagnosed with lung cancer (he had never smoked a day in his life) and had died only a short time after I had seen him. I just couldn't believe it. It turns out, I had caught him at a bad time after all. I wonder if I had asked if everything was OK if he would have told me. I don't know. I just remember thinking we never knew to pray for our neighbors when they were in such need.

Cliff's wife, Pat, sold the big house quickly and we kept in touch at Christmastime for many years. I can't help but think of our loving and kind neighbor as I post this recipe. It was Cliff's favorite.

Delicious Pumpkin Bread
(Makes two full-size loaves)

Things you will need:

5 eggs
1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 packages (3 oz. each) cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add oil and pumpkin; beat until smooth. Combine remaining ingredients; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. Pour batter into two greased 8” x 4” x 2” loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not over bake! Cool on wire racks.

Michelle's variations for toppings:

For Cinnamon Sugar, blend together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon (you won't need all of this--use some for cinnamon toast). Generously sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of pumpkin bread batter before baking. For additional yumminess, add some chopped pecans.

For Crumb Topping, in a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon cold butter. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembled coarse cornmeal. Add chopped pecans if desired. Sprinkle over top of pumpkin bread batter before baking.

Additional notes from Michelle:

* A doubled recipe will fill 5 disposable loaf pans (8" x 3 7/8" x 215/32"); bake time is still the same. These mini-loaves make wonderful Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends. But please, give full-sized loaves to neighbors who snow blow your driveway.

* Adding chocolate chips to the pumpkin mixture is fabulous (thank you sister-in-love, Julie!)


P.S. Friends, if you ever have any questions about any recipe I post here, please don't ever hesitate to ask. I would love to help in any way I can!


  1. Woohoo she posted the pumpkin bread recipe! :)

    What a beautiful story about Cliff. More than compensates for the terrorizing horse story. (lol!)

  2. You are so funny, Dani! I hope never to terrorize my readers again :o)

    Have fun baking...and sharing, my friend. I can only imagine the beautiful neighbors you must have.

    Much love,