Pumpkin Bread with a twist
I realize I am jumping on the Pumpkin Bread bandwagon late. Pumpkin recipes have dominated Pinterest for over a month now. Now that the weather has finally cooled in our area, I can start thinking about all the wonderful baked goods I love to eat in the fall. Unfortunately, during this time of year my diet has to take a back seat until New Years.
This year I decided to add black walnuts to my famous (well, famous in my family) pumpkin bread recipe. I’ll admit I was not an immediate fan of black walnuts. Its flavor is almost unidentifiable. If you have ever tasted one, you know what I mean. Unlike its mild English brethren, black walnuts have a robust, earthy, coffee/maple syrup taste. Its flavor is complex. I find you either like it or not.
Although I do not prefer to eat them straight up, I do like to add them to breads, cakes and cookies. I think they particularly pair well with cranberries. Normally I add pecans to my pumpkin bread…I do live in the deep south (we love our pecans). This time I thought I’d honor my husband’s wild West Virginian roots and add some earthiness to bread.
How to harvest black walnuts
If you have a black walnut tree in your yard and want to harvest your own, I will warn you that it is not a task for the for the weak. You have to wait until the bright green walnuts fall to the ground naturally. Once you collect them, you need to let them ripen a yellowish green and the hulls will begin to recede. Then you can strip away the hulls and crack the nut to get the fruit. I suggest you wear gloves before you strip away the hulls unless you want your hands stained a deep rich brown. If you are into natural dyeing, save the hulls and boil them to create a dye bath. Black walnut hulls make a beautiful dark brown. Alternatively, you can buy black walnuts at the store 😉
- 1-15oz can of Pumpkin Puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup black walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries(craisins)
- 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
- 1-8oz package of cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 5-6 tablespoons of milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans or a 6 cup bundt pan. * I used a 6 cup bundt pan plus one loaf pan
- In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.
- Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
- Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour in the preheated oven.
- Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add milk; mix on low speed until smooth. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Once the bread is cooled, drizzle the cream cheese on top. I like to put the glaze in a gallon zip lock bag and snip an opening at one end. This makes an inexpensive piping bag. I then drizzle/pipe the glaze onto the bread. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee (it goes very well with the black walnut flavor). Happy eating!
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