Nothing personifies autumn’s bounty more than the smell of pumpkin mixed with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice baking in the oven. It smells like a brisk walk in the crisp evening air that carries the essence of a distant fireplace. It is painted with strokes of gold, orange, and red as brilliant as a desert sunset. It sounds like leaves crackling underfoot and the squealing of excited children as they gather armfuls of nature’s fallen treasures to toss into the air and on each other.
The scent of pumpkin is an invitation to gather with family and friends in warm lighted kitchens and living rooms. It is hearth and home and the anticipation of things to come. It is comfort delivered in a way that is stronger than words – a way that reaches into the depths of the soul and emerges with fond memories of days past.
No wonder I love fall so much.
These days, the crackling of leaves and the scent of distant fireplaces are merely recollections and beautiful figments of my imagination. Living in the desert has all but extinguished their reality, which sometimes makes me sad. But I can still create the essence of fall in my kitchen with a few simple ingredients and an oven.
Even though the mercury is still pushing 100 degrees, this mouth-watering bread is a staple in my home this time of year. It smells divine while baking and is moist, chocolatey, and delightfully packed with the lifeblood of the season: pumpkin.
The original recipe came from a cookbook that Greg’s mission president’s wife put together for the missionaries when he was serving 21 years ago. I altered it a little, cutting the sugar in half, for starters. Don’t worry; it is still plenty sweet.
To make it a little more healthy, I also substituted half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. You can make it with 100% all-purpose flour, but I cannot even taste the difference with the addition of the whole grain flour. When all else is created equal, I try to opt for the more nutritious option. (And my kids still scarf it down like it is going out of style.)
With that introduction, you simply must run to the grocery store to stock up on the ingredients necessary to make this bread. And by run, I mean run. Walking is not allowed unless you are carrying a child or otherwise unable to move quickly. Time is of the essence here. Fall doesn’t last forever, you know.
Your home is yearning for the comforting smell of baking pumpkin, and your mouth is waiting for the masterfully blended flavors. Pumpkin and chocolate are a perfect match. I’m pretty sure the road to heaven is paved with plenty of both of them.
You know you want to give this irresistible recipe a try, so what are you waiting for?