October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

It's beginning to look a lot like.....FALL! I am loving the cool weather and the changing leaves. I'm also loving the fact that I'm home for my birthday weekend. I'm so excited to be able to spend this time with my wonderful friends and family. The treat of the day today is some Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread that I just made. This bread is REALLY good. Like, really. You have to like pumpkin though, because they don't call this pumpkin bread for nothing. Some pumpkin foods just have a sort of spice to them and not much pumpkin flavor, but this bread really has that flavor. So, anyway, warning: this is true pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

For those of you who love pumpkin as much as I do, YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS! Here's the recipe...enjoy!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want the filling to be)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 to 1 1/4 cup(s) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1  1/2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cinnamon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons half & half
1/2  to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, blend 1  2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, canola oil, eggs and sugar; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans or walnuts.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter layers in each loaf pan and then spoon or pour  on the remaining pumpkin batter (if you don’t have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese layer entirely, that’s okay, because you’ll be swirling them together anyway). Take a knife and stick straight down into the top pumpkin batter layer and middle cream cheese layer; swirl the knife around in these two layers, creating a marble effect; this will give the cream cheese filling a nice swirly shape as it bakes.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely. While waiting for the bread to cool, mix your cinnamon glaze: combine powdered sugar and half & half, blending well; then add cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy. Note: the cinnamon makes this glaze darker in color, so if you want a lighter, creamy color glaze, just add a dash of cinnamon to the mixture. Drizzle over completely cooled bread loaves and then sprinkle on nuts for garnish.

This recipe makes two 8 x 4-inch loaves, so you can make one to eat now and one to save in the freezer for later. 

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