Monday, December 13, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas Cooking!

My Exams are finished and we are back in business! This semester has made me all sorts of crazy and I'm so glad it's over. I have a month to recover and let my brain go back to mush. Then, January 10th, it starts all over again. But until that day arrives, "let the good times roll"!

I have a lot of shopping and wrapping and decorating left to do. I also have a party to cater this coming weekend. That should be tons of fun. I'm organized a lot better than in years past and I feel a bit more comfortable since I've had a good bit of experience now. It'll be a nice, southern menu with my added twists here and there.

Oh, right! So you might notice the title. Yes, that's right. Something else holiday themed. Just what you need, right? Well I hope so! In order to encourage myself to write more often and to spread a little holiday cheer, I've decided to bring you the 12 Days of Christmas Cooking! For the next 12 days (starting today) I'm going to put up a post with a yummy recipe, a review of a gadget, or maybe a little history about food in holiday traditions. I don't have all 12 days planned out, so I'll be just as surprised as you! Be sure to check back every day to see what I've come up with.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A Spicy Pumpkin-Pear Bread Recipe! I made this quick bread for Thanksgiving. I had a few pears that were over-ripe, but I hated to just throw them away. So I grated them and added them to this recipe in place of mashed, canned pears. The pear flavor isn't very strong without the addition of a liquer. But the addition of the pear flesh makes this bread incredibly moist and naturally sweet.

Elle's Pumpkin-Pear Bread

2 C. pumpkin puree
3/4 C. grated pear (or canned pears, drained and mashed)
1 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. canola/vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 1/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tbsp. pear brandy (optional)

Mix all wet ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. In another bowl, sift all dry ingredients together. In about 3 separate batches, add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until just combined. Try not to over mix the batter. Pour evenly into 2 greased, medium loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes.
Obviously, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I really enjoy strong spices, but some may not. By cutting the amount of each spice in half, you'll still have a flavorful bread, but the flavors will be more subtle.

See you tomorrow!

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