Pumpkin Gingerbread

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas always feel like a transitional period.  The weather gets colder as fall turns into winter, autumnal store displays are replaced by winter wonderlands, and pumpkin-based desserts are gently edged out of the spotlight in favor of gingerbread and peppermint.

This always makes me kind of sad because I’m a little infatuated with pumpkin in any form, whether it’s tucked inside ravioli, churned into ice cream, stuffed and roasted, or baked into a dessert.  Fall is heaven for me because it seems more socially acceptable to be gaga about pumpkin once September rolls around.  From September through November, you wouldn’t be able to avoid pumpkin-y foods even if you wanted to – and who in their right mind would?

This year, I came across the perfect compromise for that post-Thanksgiving transitional period: pumpkin gingerbread.  I baked it one afternoon while I was working from home, and the smell wafting from the oven was divine.  I kept wandering into the kitchen to stand there sniffing for minutes at a time.  If I could have crawled inside the loaf and made myself at home in there, I would have.

This pumpkin gingerbread is the perfect combination of fall and winter.  It’s spicy with a subtle pumpkin flavor and is super-moist, with the raisins creating scattered little pockets of juiciness.  It practically begs to be enjoyed with a mug of hot tea or coffee, whether as breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Pumpkins may not be the star of the show anymore, but in this gingerbread, it’s definitely making a graceful exit.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

From Simply Recipes

Yields one 9×5 inch loaf

1 1/2 cups 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 pumpkin puree

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light and it turned out fine)

1/2 cup molasses

1 tablespoon finely minced candied or fresh ginger

2 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the pumpkin puree, butter, sugar, molasses, fresh or candied ginger, eggs, and water.

Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture.  Add raisins if using.  Stir until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Store tightly wrapped in an airtight container, or freeze for up to 1 month.

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