Cozy up in your kitchen with pumpkin loaf

Cozy Up In Your Kitchen With Pumpkin Loaf
Dreamstime/TNS

The pumpkin and cranberry go together beautifully in this loaf.

Looks like we are in the season of pumpkin everything! I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of pumpkin hummus, pumpkin cheese or pumpkin cereal. I’m old-fashioned when it comes to pumpkin flavors. I’m good with pumpkin pancakes or pumpkin cake, but my traditional “let’s get the season started” pumpkin item is pumpkin bread.

I have made many adaptations to the traditional American classic, but I think my latest favorite is this loaf of pumpkin-cranberry goodness. When you make this, your house smells like a cozy combination of autumn and holiday aromas wrapped into one. I recently prepared this for some out-of-town guests, and they loved the addition of dried cranberries. These two flavors go together beautifully.

Look for a can of pumpkin puree — not pumpkin pie filling. I tried the Trader Joe’s variety this year, and it was half the price of the pumpkin puree in my supermarket and very flavorful. Pumpkin pie seasoning saves you time measuring out different spices and tastes great in this quick bread. The dried cranberries offset the sweet bread flavor in an appealing way. This loaf can be studded with toasted walnuts or mini chocolate chips instead of the cranberries if you like, and you can even include raisins for another flavor profile. My favorite added touch is the slightly crunchy sugar-pumpkin spice topping that is sprinkled on top of the bread just before baking. I use this loaf to make my favorite bread pudding for Thanksgiving dessert. This is also a welcoming snack with a hot cup of tea or apple cider.

Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf

Makes 1 large 9-by-5-inch loaf

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado or sugar in the raw
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Grease and flour a 9-inch-by-5-inch nonstick loaf pan.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice into a bowl. Reserve.

3. Combine the pumpkin puree with the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor and process for about 2 minutes or until light and airy.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture and process until well incorporated.

5. Add the cranberries and pulse a few times until incorporated, making sure not to puree the cranberries. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Combine the topping ingredients and mix to blend. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the pumpkin batter.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 55 minutes to one hour or until a pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for an hour. Invert the bread on the rack and then turn over onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)