cinnamon raisin pumpkin bread with honeyed walnut cream cheese (GF)

As if I thought the year could not get any weirder, the month of March has proven me wrong.

I’m currently sitting on my couch with a glass of kombucha I’ve been working my way through for the past 3 hours, glancing out the window every few minutes at the steady fall of snow gently coating car roofs and asphalt. I have about twenty minutes before I leave to go teach, twenty minutes in which I hope to finish this tea and find a clean sweatshirt dug out of the bottom of my closet.

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I do wish there were an equivalent of petrichor for snowy days. Crisp is the closest I can think, but that falls dreadfully flat of the heady coldness – warm in its own way – of March snow.

Mostly though, I’m perturbed by the fact that it was close to 60F out yesterday. This change in weather was unanticipated, and totally threw off my scheduled productivity for the afternoon. (Let’s not kid ourselves here. I would have been unproductive regardless. But the weather proves a good excuse.)

It was supposed to be a day spent writing cover letters for fall internships and pages of German homework. Instead, I woke up and promptly came to the realization that I will have to move all of this crap out of my apartment in less than three months (it’s really amazing how much I’ve managed to accumulate in three years). So, I stuffed two suitcases full of winter coats (six, of which I’ve worn two with any sort of consistency in my time here), organized boxes of shoes (let’s not get into that one), and made a mental checklist of books that I may actually get to before I have to leave (out of about fifty, I counted four).

And then, realizing that there’s an entire pantry of canned goods that need to be consumed before summer, I went out to the store for some mushrooms and a handful of raisins, and baked a loaf of bread.

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Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from So…Let’s Hang Out.
Yields one loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 2 eggs
  • heaping 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • handful raisins, if desired

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×5 bread pan. In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk gently to combine.

In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, olive oil, and agave on medium speed until blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Add greek yogurt and pumpkin. Reduce speed and gradually add in flour mixture. Fold in the raisins.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center.

Notes:

  • Recipe is 100% gluten free.
  • I like to reconstitute raisins before I use them in baking so that they don’t taste as ancient. To do so, put the raisins in a heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling hot water over the raisins and let steep for about 10 mins. Rinse them out into a colander and pat dry before stirring into the batter.
  • The recipe I used did not specify a size for the loaf pan, so I went with my standard 9×5. This proved to be a bit too large, so I’d recommend an 8×4 or 7×4.

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Honeyed Walnut Cream Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • small handful chopped walnuts

Method:

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 mins. Add in raw honey and beat an additional 30 seconds or so. Stir in walnuts. Cream cheese spread will keep up to a week in the fridge.

Note:

  • This can be eaten with anything, but it pairs particularly well with pumpkin bread.

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There’s not much reason for the bread besides the former existence of canned pumpkin in my pantry. And I hadn’t updated in what feels like years so I figured, if I was being real-life productive, I may as well get to it. And I quite enjoy the smell of bread baking in the oven, only made sweeter by the sight of snow falling outside (seriously, isn’t it supposed to be spring or something?).

And, okay, so, I maaaaaay have misaligned my jaw a week ago, and I maaaaay have been living off of soups, smoothies, and tylenol because of the white-hot pain that consumes the right side of my face whenever I open my mouth to yawn or, like, chew food. But, you know, five days of smoothies-for-meals and I realized that I needed something a bit more substantial to keep from dying of boredom/starvation.

At least my mornings won’t be so dull with soft-as-marshmallow pumpkin bread for breakfast. I really think that bread pan is shaping up to be my new best friend. Pesto with roasted potatoes and mushroom chowder later in the week, I think.

Clearly, anything with the consistency of baby food is something I will eat with gusto.

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.”
-M.F.K. Fisher

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