When you are a super-organized type-A personality (like yours truly), you have a tough time dealing with unexpected events that completely throw your meticulously scheduled day out of whack.
Take yesterday, for example.
This recipe–this perfectly moist spiced loaf of pumpkin bread, loaded with tart cranberries, sweet dates and crunchy walnuts–was all ready to be photographed and posted by yesterday morning. Inspired by the somewhat cool, rainy and very fall-like weather that occurred over Labor Day weekend in Wyoming, I just had to bake something pumpkin. I mean, no time like the present to kick off the fall baking season, right?
The bread turned out better than I had hoped. I was a bit nervous due to my inexperience with altitude baking and the fact that I had made quite a few adjustments to my normal pumpkin bread recipe. Great!! Let’s get this thing posted!!
Or not. How about spending the entire day at the veterinarian’s office and dropping a few c-notes on x-rays instead? Sound like a good alternative?
My poor lab Fenway, like many dogs of his breed, has hip issues. I won’t go into detail (because I will likely mess up the proper medical terminology), but his issues are a bit more extreme than we originally thought, possibly due to an injury that occurred before we adopted him from the pound.
Fenway was clearly in some serious pain yesterday morning (evidenced by his unwillingness to move or eat–his favorite activity), and nothing makes my eyes well up like seeing and hearing a sick puppy. So I somehow managed to get all 90 pounds of Fenway into the car (a comical sight, I’m sure) and to the vet.
Six hours later, we had a diagnosis, a plan for recovery and a new diet for Fenway (which unfortunately does not include pumpkin bread.) I also had peace of mind and a happy puppy, which made my interrupted schedule completely worth it.
So here it is, my Pumpkin Spice Bread with Cranberries, Dates and Walnuts, a day late. For the record, this bread tastes even better the day after it is baked, when it has been tightly wrapped overnight, allowing the flavors to intensify a bit more. In that case, this post is perfectly timed!
This moist, sweet pumpkin bread recipe is one of my favorite things about the fall baking season! Enjoy it for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or as a sweet treat just before bed. The loaves freeze well for several weeks, so they would be a great option for holiday entertaining or for homemade gifts.
- 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1-1/3 cups (325 mL) whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
- 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) safflower or canola oil
- 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (500 mL) canned pumpkin
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) orange juice or water
- 2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) chopped dates
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spray two 9X5-inch (22.5X12.5 cm) loaf pans with nonstick baking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the oil and sugar at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin, orange juice/water and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the batter is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes more. Mix in the walnuts, cranberries and dates.
- Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans. Bake the bread in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, about 1 hour.
- Let the loaves cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes then invert them onto the rack to cool completely.
- For best flavor, wrap the cooled loaves in plastic wrap and store overnight at room temperature before slicing (but if it's too hard to wait that long, enjoy immediately!!)
For easiest slicing, wrap the loaves tightly in saran wrap and store overnight, either in the refrigerator or at room temperature.