These all started with a trip to the pumpkin patch. Every year our daycare center goes to the local pumpkin patch. It is like a child wonderland for Halloween. Hot cider, doughnuts, haunted houses, and lots of land for running wild once your sugar high kicks in. Last year when Monkey was an the only little one in the house we kept him home with us until it was time to meet up with the school bus to drive to the pumpkin patch. We figured he wouldn't want to ride the school bus but would prefer to ride to the pumkin patch in the quiet SUV with his parents. We were wrong. Oh so very wrong. So wrong in fact that we listened to him talk about missing the chance to take the yellow bus to the patch all morning. "Eh... he's two," we thought "he will forget about it in an hour." He did not forget about it in an hour, nor a day, month, or the rest of the year. The topic came up enough that I began to count down the days until the next pumpkin patch trip so he could ride the yellow bus and get it out of his system. At least we didn't have to ride in this.
So month after month he brought up the bus, and it was always followed by this.... "remember we went to the coffee shop before the pumpkin patch and we got the pumpkin bread with the squishy stuff inside?" "Yes buddy, I remember that." "Can we have the bread again?" "Yes buddy, we can have the bread again." However in the mad rush that is always present in our house we did not get leave on time. My husband tried to calm me by saying "It's not a big deal, we can drive him if we're late." To which I replied "No flipping way! I am not listening to his mourn the loss of a school bus ride again for an entire year. It might drive him to pre-school therapy sessions."
We managed to literally get on the bus this year but we did not have time for bread. So to make amends and forego a year of.... "Remeber when you forgot the bread because you are the worse Mother EVER and it was worse thing that has ever happened to me since you made me ride with you to the pumpkin patch?" I decided I could just make the bread at home. How hard can it be.
Step one... find a pumpkin
Or two, or a few hundred
Roast the pumpkin and puree, or simple open a can of pureed pumpkin from the store. For ease this year I did not make my own pumpkin which is sill really because I made fresh baby food every day and there is no difference really. Next? Locate your loaf pans... or if your kitchen is a disaster and you can't bear the thought of the avalanche that will be caused when you attempt to extract a loaf pan or two, use your very readily available muffin tins instead. The concept is the same. The recipe makes two full size loafs, 5 mini loaves, or 18 muffins.
While picking out your pumpkins at the pumpkin patch watch out for spiders,
Cream Cheese Filled Bread Goods
adapted from The Joy of Baking
Cream Cheese Filling8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Pumpkin Bread1 cup pecans or walnuts
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 - 15 ounce can pure pumpkin, or homemade
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and lightly flour two - 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pans, 5 mini loaf pans, or your muffin tinsNuts
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Cool completely and then chop coarsely.Cream Cheese Filling
In your food processor, process the cream cheese just until smooth. Add the sugar and process just until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Do not over process. Stir in the flour.Bread
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in the pumpkin, water, vanilla extract, and nuts.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined. (A few streaks of flour is fine.) Do not over mix as it will make the bread tough.
Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it evenly between the two prepared pans. Divide the cream cheese filling in half and place each half of filling on top the two pans of batter, smoothing the tops. Top with the remaining half of batter (use two spoons to place small dollops of batter on top of the filling). For muffins, divide the batter in two. Use half for the bottom of the muffins and half for the top. To be honest in the future I will take the extra effort to pull out the bread pans it has to be easier. Bake the breads for about 55 - 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Place pans on a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing breads from pans. Can serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or else freeze for later use.