Pumpkin Beer Bread

PhotosIt’s finally fall, and not in a “September is the end of summer” sort of way. I mean we’ve finally hit cold mornings and cool afternoons, leaves changing colors, and the end of summer tourists.  As a native New Englander I can finally embrace boots, scarves, and the flood of apple/pumpkin flavored everything. Oh happy day! Actually for me the official start of fall is the Eastern States Exposition, also known by the locals as the Big E. Regardless of whether the cold has come early or we’re experiencing an Indian Summer, the Big E has always signaled the start of school and fall outings. Candy apples, clam fritters, a Maine baked potato, and now that I’m older –  local craft beer. I don’t live around the corner from the fairgrounds anymore, but I make a point of going every year. I’ll be there this weekend with my family and friends eating everything in sight. See food, eat food right!

In the mean time I’ll have to settle with a fall favorite – pumpkin bread. In this case pumpkin beer bread. I came across this recipe last year and it has become a fall staple in my kitchen. This recipe is also very flexible. I’ve substituted or eliminated different ingredients many times and the dough is pretty tolerant to change.

Pumpkin Beer Bread

Modified from My Recipes

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-honey-beer-quick-bread-10000001854015/

Yields 2 loaves

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed (if you don’t have flaxseed, then add 1/3 to the total flour. I’ve done this several times in the past and the recipe comes out fine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (you can use canola oil, however I prefer olive oil and use it in most of my baking)
  • 2/3 cup beer (I would recommend a pumpkin or Oktoberfest style brew to compliment the pumpkin in the bread, but use whatever you like)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin

Note: This bread can be finished with a topping or left plain. In the past I’ve used candied ginger, pumpkin seeds, or a streusel topping.  For the streusel topping see below.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice) in a bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine.

Combine water and flaxseed in a separate bowl (if you’re not using flaxseed, skip this step). In a large bowl beat sugar, oil, beer, and eggs until well blended. Add flaxseed mixture (or just water if not using flaxseed) and pumpkin; mix at low speed until combined.  Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Divide batter between 2 greased loaf pans (9×5 inch). Distribute desired toppings over batter. Press gently into batter to adhere. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely.

Streusel Topping

Modified from Damn Delicious

http://damndelicious.net/2012/11/02/crumbly-pumpkin-bread/

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Combine all ingredients above in a bowl until crumbly. You should have a mixture of large and small crumbs. Set aside until ready to use.

Glazed Brown Sugar Scones

2013-09-02 09.51.33 HDRI love fresh baked pastries on a Sunday morning, especially with a hot cup of coffee. I don’t know about you, but morning coffee has become mandatory for me. I’ve done short no-coffee kicks in the past, the last being a few years ago between undergrad and graduate school. I went a full 4 months with no coffee or caffeine, a record for me. I know that the caffeine, creamer and sugar, are not good for me, but what it comes down to is I simply like the flavor. It’s the little vices that get you right? So this Sunday came around and I realized I had no creamer in the fridge. I’m a half and half at a minimum kind of girl, so I went off for an early morning grocery run for the precious liquid.

Note to future self, walking around the grocery store when hungry is a bad idea.

So while I’m salivating at everything in the store I remembered that I had pinned this recipe only a few weeks ago. I had never made scones before, and figured this would be a good Sunday morning experiment, so I pulled up the recipe on my phone – gotta love the smart phone – and picked up the few ingredients I was missing.

Overall I found this recipe very easy, despite my last minute adjustments to the toppings. The original recipe was for cinnamon scones, however I found out when I got home that I had no cinnamon. Who runs out of cinnamon? Anyway, one comment I would make is while the dough acts as a good scone base, it doesn’t have a ton of flavor. I would recommend adding some cinnamon chips or some kind of fruit – maybe diced apples – to give it more flavor depth.

Glazed Brown Sugar Scones2013-09-02 09.51.18

Adapted from Money Saving Mom

http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/01/glazed-cinnamon-scones-recipe.html#_a5y_p=921927

Time 15-20 minutes

Yields 8 scones

Scone Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter, cool and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg, separated into two bowls
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup butter milk (or 1/3 cup milk with ½ tsp of lemon juice)

Topping

  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar, but you could use dark brown as well)

Glaze

  • 1 cup powered sugar
  • 1+ tsp milk (add more to bring glaze to desired thickness)
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl. Cut in butter until it’s even distributed and the mixture has a crumb-like texture.

Mix egg yolk, honey and buttermilk until combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Form the dough into a ball, and roll out on a floured surface until the dough is circular shaped and roughly a half inch thick. Using either a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into eight equal pieces and transfer onto a greased cookie sheet. Whisk the egg yolk until frothy and brush over the tops of the scones.

Mix the crumb topping ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over the tops of the scones. Press into the dough lightly to adhere.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes (mine took 12 minutes, but I think my new oven is running cool). Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

Mix together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until glaze forms. Adjust the milk for desired glaze thickness. Once scones have cooled slightly, drizzle with glaze and enjoy!

2013-09-02 09.52.26