Well, I suggested to my friend Kristy a while back that she let me make some loaves of pumpkin bread for her to give as client gifts this year. She said sure, make me 10 small loaves.
I didn't think it would be a big deal. Truly didn't.
Last time I got the old Christmas baking assembly line going was a number of years ago, and I had a boyfriend helping me. He lived in a house with a big kitchen. It was great fun. I was, of course, a lot younger and more fit.
I also had to go to two different stores yesterday, for prescriptions and whatnot, so by the time I got home and started the pumpkin bread it was after noon.
The tricky part was figuring out the baking time, since they were smaller than the loaves I usually make. The first batch, three loaves, I baked together. Took them out after 30 minutes. Not done. Fifteen more minutes. Not done. Ten more minutes. Not done.
Finally it occurred to me that since these loaves were 80% as big as the regular loaves, they probably needed close to an hour, just like the regular baking time. DUH.
After that it went fairly easily, but I was soooooo tired by the end of the day.
I failed to take a photo of the end product, but there were nice plastic domed lids, and I put some nice gold ribbon and curled it. The end product looked very professional. That's what I was going for - something that looked professional but tasted homemade.
I debated about using nuts and decided against nuts, since I didn't want to send any nut-allergic child to the ER. That would send the wrong message.
Will signings are suspanded until after the holidays. Who wants to think about wills and estate planning around Christmas?!
I've put the Pumpkin Spice bread recipe on here before but I will do it again at the bottom. The recipe will make two big loaves or 4 small loaves. What makes it so good are all the spices. Don't skimp on the spices!
I also made this Milk Chocolate Fudge, except I used semi-sweet morsels. Fudge can be sickeningly sweet, and that's not good. Michael had a fit over the fudge; most of it was a gift. I will make more.
This morning, I made something I hadn't seen since I was a kid and we used to make these, oranges studded with cloves:
I am not sure what else I am going to make, except I know I will make a pecan pie. Mike says that's what makes it feel like Christmas, to him, pecan pie.
To me, Christmas means Rocks. I may make some this year. My dad loved these cookies:
Recipe of Cephia Henderson Adkins, Courtesy of Diddy Thompson
1 t. soda 1 t. cinnamon
2 egg yolks 1 t. cloves
3/4 c. butter 1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour 1 t. to 1 T. water
1 1/2 c. sugar 1 box raisins
1 c. chopped nuts (preferably pecans)
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, well beaten. Sift flour, spices, and soda together, and blend well with butter and sugar. Add water, nuts, and raisins. Mix well. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. I use part butter and part margarine, and rarely add water unless the dough is too stiff after testing a few in the oven first.
My aunt Ceph never wanted to share the recipe, but my aunt Diddy found the recipe written down on a scrap of paper years ago.
SPICED PUMPKIN BREAD
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil [you can use olive oil and it works fine]
3 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. [Note: I never sift.] Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired. I’ve also used pecans, and those were great, too.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.