I had half a can of leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge and wanted to use it before it went bad. I looked through the various pumpkin recipes on my computer and flipped through a couple of cookbooks. I asked Dwight if he wanted cookies or bread, and bread it was.
So I went to one of my go-to baking experts—Betty Crocker. The other is Alton Brown. Aww, isn't he just the greatest? I'm going to have to bust out some of the blueberries we picked and froze last year and make some famous Alton Brown blueberry muffins. But I digress.
The recipe called for a whole can of pumpkin, so I halved it. I made a few other mods along the way, as well, like adding way more spices. I love me some spicy pumpkin bread. It turned out wonderfully. It's some of the best pumpkin bread I've ever made. The only change I would make is cutting the sugar a tad because the dried cranberries are very sweet.
Spicy Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Bread
Adapted from Betty Crocker
1/3 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup water
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries (guessing on the amount—I just dumped some in there)
generous 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (ditto on the measurement here—who says baking has to be precise? Not me! And, yeah, those spice measurements up there? Total guess. Dump, dump and dump. That's how I roll.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream shortening and sugar in mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated. Add pumpkin, water and spices. Beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, soda, powder and salt. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend on low only until mixture is mostly incorporated. You should still see dry flour. Add nuts and cranberries and finish mixing by hand just until blended through. Do not over mix.
Pour into large, greased bread pan. (The cookbook said to only grease the bottom, but I wasn't taking any chances. I used butter flavored spray on entire inside of pan.)
Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely before slicing. It'll be tough to wait, but it's worth it. The flavors aren't as good when it's too hot. You gotta trust me on this.