Monday, September 21, 2009

it is coming

When I was a little girl, I always rode the bus home from school, and in the fall this meant climbing down from the bus and crossing the street, dragging my feet through the several yards of maple-leaf crunch driveway, and then plunging from the crisp afternoon into the warmth of the kitchen just beyond the side door. And the scents of that kitchen: oh, the warm oven scents.

Today I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread, a perennial family favorite, and as I sat on the couch reading Midnight's Children and the aroma of baking cinnamon-nutmeg-pumpkin began to fill the apartment, I found myself floating back through those layers of an autumn afternoon: the anticipation of an ending school day; the cool of the steel-skied afternoon and its blaze of changing leaves; the chatter of a bus ride (or, on more introverted days, the downy safety of a novel, perhaps Little House or Anne of Green Gables); the front maple, side door, kitchen welcome, Mom's smile, snack; and probably the seduction of a stubby pencil and a notebook, or more reading, watching the light fade and waiting for an always good dinner (excepting canned green beans and vegetable soup).

It is up to me now to fill my own home with its scents, to celebrate this favorite season with its leaf-magic and cozy evenings, and today I did. I've shared the recipe before, but here it is again:

Autumn Afternoon Pumpkin Bread

2.5 C sugar
1 C oil
4 eggs
3 and 1/3 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 C water
15 oz can pumpkin puree (or pureed cooked pumpkin or winter squash)
1 C chocolate chips
1/4 C minced candied ginger (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottoms and halfway up sides of two bread tins (9x5, I think).
2. Beat sugar and oil together in your largest bowl. Add eggs, beating well after each.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through ground ginger).
4. Alternately add dry ingredient mixture and water to oil/sugar/egg mixture, mixing just to incorporate. Then add pumpkin puree, just until incorporated. Finally, fold in chocolate chips and ginger, if using.
5. Bake 55-60 minutes -- test with a toothpick near the center. Cool in pans for 10 min, then remove and cool on wire rack.

1 comment:

  1. There is an organic acorn squash sitting on the top of my fridge right now and begging me to bake it into this bread...

    Oh, and I went to a lecture tonight on Flannery O'Connor and the culture of life and the culture of death in Wise Blood; I wished earnestly that you were sitting next to me.