I love baking! Quick breads, which use baking soda and baking powder instead of yeast as leavening (and therefore require no kneading or rising time), are easy, versatile, and delicious. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, and gifts, they’re a staple in our house. Years ago, I discovered that they make tasty lunches too! When my daughter started first grade, she decided she didn’t want the usual run-of-the-mill sandwiches in her lunch. Rather, she requested alternatives made with her favorite fall quick breads—Pumpkin and Apple-Cheddar—sliced and spread with cream cheese, if you please. I was happy to make them for her; I much preferred that she ate her reasonably healthy lunch rather than trade or discard it. I still bake both breads all year long, and it brings a smile to my face when I watch my granddaughter enjoying these treasured recipes now.

Pumpkin Bread

Recipe makes 2 large loaves, 3 medium loaves, or 10 mini-loaves
Ingredients
4 eggs, beaten lightly
3 C sugar
1 C light oil, sunflower or canola recommended*
1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin puree (not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ T pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and ½ tsp. ginger
1 tsp salt
3 ½ C flour
*Substitute ½ cup unsweetened applesauce for ½ cup oil, if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray two large loaf pans with non-stick baking spray. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and oil (or oil and applesauce) with a whisk. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk again until well blended. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, and whisk again. Add the flour in two batches, mixing after each batch. (You will need to use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the last of the flour in.).

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake approximately 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Mini-loaves will be done in 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and let set for 10 minutes. Turn out of the pans onto the rack and cool completely. Store in airtight bag or container.

Sliced pumpkin bread is delicious plain or spread with butter or cream cheese and honey.

You can also drizzle vanilla bean, maple, or caramel icing over the top of the baked loaves.

For Sue’s printable recipes for Pumpkin and Apple Cheddar Bread recipes and icings, visit www.itsokaytoeatthecupcake.com.