Cranberry Pummmmpkin Bread

{tis' the freakin' season}
Can I just tell you how much I love pumpkin flavored anything? It's funny because pumpkin pie, is not my number one favorite. But put pumpkin in anything else, and I'm yours. I can't get enough of it! I especially love the way it makes your house smell. Reminds me of grandma's house during November and December. It's so welcoming and pleasant. I thought that breads like this were for experienced bakers only. To my surprise, it was quite easy-- minus of course, my big flaw of not cooking the first loaf entirely before taking it out of the oven. That's right my friends, this is the second loaf! The inside of the first loaf, literally was the same consistency of the batter that went into the oven in the beginning. I went ahead and did some research on why this happened, and what I could do to rectify it. So here is what I found:
Bread sticks to pan. Unless you're using high-quality nonstick metal or silicone baking pans, you should always grease the pans before you pour in the batter. The best thing to use for greasing the pan is shortening, because its melting point is higher than any other kind of fat, which helps maintain a "shield" between pan and batter while the bread is baking. A high-quality cooking spray--one that won't bake on to your pans and discolor them--is also a fast, easy fix. You can also prevent sticking by removing the bread from the pan sooner: let the bread cool for at least twenty minutes in order to set (Bundt loaves should cool twice as long) before inverting the pan.
There are big holes and "tunnels" in the bread, and/or the bread is tough. These problems are usually caused by over-mixing. See above, Mixing the Batter, about mixing technique.
There's a big crack down the middle of the quick bread loaf. The crack on top happens when top of the loaf "sets" in the heat of the oven before the bread is finished rising. Don't worry--it's normal for quick breads. Drizzle the loaf with icing or dust with confectioners' sugar.
The bread looks done on the outside but it's still raw in the middle. This is one of the most common quick bread problems, and it can be caused by a few different factors. The oven temperature could be too high. (Use an oven thermometer to check: they're cheap and available at most supermarkets.)
Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won't burn before the middle has time to catch up.

Another cause of "raw center" syndrome could be using a different pan than the recipe calls for. One of the nice things about quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves, jumbo loaves, or rounds. But each size requires different baking times--and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it's going to take to bake. If you're using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.
Taken from allrecipes.com. So... I had to try it again to prove that I could do it. And whadda know... it worked! I adjusted my oven temperature and I covered it with foil the last 10 minutes, and now I have yummy, yummy pumpkin bread to eat!
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (optional) (you could also throw in nuts and/or chocolate chips)

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix; set aside. In another bowl sift flour, baking soda, and spices. Gradually add dry ingredients to creamy mixture. Mix until just blended. Fold in cranberries. Grease one loaf pan or four mini loaves. Pour batter into pans. For one loaf, bake at 350F for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. For mini loaves, bake at 350F for about 35-40 minutes.

FYI... this makes a fantastic gift to give to your neighbors and friends!
recipe adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook.

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