One of the best things about having tween daughters is spending time with them in the kitchen. Littlest is always ‘up the counter’ and has been by my side in the kitchen since she was in a highchair. But, the older two girl Littles—who are really not so little anymore—are busy coming and going with longer days filled with seasonal activities, homework, and who knows what.
When one of the girls asks to bake with me, I try to always say yes. Before you sigh, “ahhh. . .” imagining a Norman Rockwell painting of Ma and her doting daughters baking by the hearth, let me assure you our scene looks more Jackson Pollock. I’m learning to control my OCD tendencies and let the flour fly, so to speak.
Because what ends up happening around the kitchen counter has less to do with baking and everything to do with life.
My girls talk (a lot!) while we measure, sift, and stir. The girls tell me thank you for teaching them some new tip or technique, but I am the recipient of far greater teachings at these ad hoc baking meetings. Recently, the girls and I perfected our version of pumpkin bread. The recipe went through several iterations, my favorite included chopped fresh rosemary and orange peel. But, the girls preferred the moist texture of the cream cheese version. One loaf was slightly under baked yielding what the girls called a ‘wet center’ and causing a raucous over who would get the coveted center pieces.
This recipe is very versatile. On one occasion we split the batter and made one bread loaf and a dozen muffins. It’s a generous amount of batter, so you could also make mini-loaves to share. Spread the love!
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- ⅓ cup cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons Allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter and dust two loaf pans with flour. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and melted butter. Beat with hand or standing mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to cream the mixture. Add the pumpkin and cream cheese and beat until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, Allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and blend until well combined.
- Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.