This week, the weather has begun cooling. The oppressive Southern heat that ravaged my vegetable garden has lifted and been replaced by a nice breeze, not exactly cool, but cooler. Refreshing. Oh, so very, very welcome.
My stepdad has always made fun of me, saying that come September 1, I pull out the sweaters and flannel pajamas. Before it is even cool outside, I want to dress for cooler weather. I want to drink hot beverages and snuggle under the covers and hunker down like a bear in hibernation.
I am a creature of habit, and if nothing else can be said for me, one must give in that I am consistent. I wore flannel pajamas earlier this week, and I have begun drinking pumpkin coffee in the mornings. I am drinking and dressing fall into existence.
Baking it into existence, too, actually. A blog reader suggested that when I make butternut squash soup this week, I try making gingerbread croutons. To do so, I would have to, you know, make gingerbread. Darn.
The croutons were a complete fail, but the soup was delicious, and we’ve had gingerbread for breakfast the past few days. This gingerbread has pumpkin in it as well, making it taste even more like fall.
I wish I could claim this recipe as my own. Alas, I found the recipe on Simply Recipes, and it is so simple, so tasty, so moist and delicious, that I can’t even think of anything to tweak so that I could call it mine. So I present it to you just as Simply Recipes wrote it with the recommendation to let it cool quite a bit before cutting into it. Try it toasted with butter and/or jam.
- 1 1/2 cups (200 g) all purpose flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée**
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, or 112 g) butter, melted
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses
- 1 Tbsp finely minced candied or fresh ginger (optional)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray or butter to keep the pumpkin gingerbread from sticking to the pan.
2 In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3 In another bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the pumpkin purée, melted butter, sugar, molasses, fresh or candied ginger, eggs, and water.
4 Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the raisins if using. Stir only until incorporated.
5 Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then gently run a knife around the edge of the loaf and invert the loaf to remove it from the pan. Let it cool on a rack for 30 minutes or longer.
The loaf’s flavor will improve with time. If you cut into it while it is still a bit warm, it may be crumbly. In which case you may want to make your slices with a bread knife.