I have a few recipes I absolutely love. My red velvet is probably number one. The vanilla cake ranks pretty high too. But I make my pumpkin loaves every single year without fail and I get heaps of complements on them. The recipe comes out of a Taste of Home book and I've never tried anything else. This isn't exactly health food when you see the ingredient list, but it makes your tummy feel good and that's important too.
PUMPKIN PECAN LOAVES:
1-1/3 c AP flour
3 c sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (I was out so I just doubled the cinnamon, but I really prefer less nutmeg than the recipe calls for anyway.)
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin (I just measured out 15 oz of my pumpkin goo)
1 c vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c water
1/2 c chopped pecans (Texan ones preferred)
1/4 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c whipping cream
2/3 c confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the pumpkin, oil, eggs and water; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined' fold in the pecans. Spoon int two greased 9x5x3" loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. For glaze, combine butter, sugars and cream in a saucepan. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Cool for 20 minutes. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cooled loaves.
I have to say, the star of this recipe really is the glaze. I'll eat that stuff with a spoon if you don't take it away from me. And of course I sprinkle some pecans on the top after I've added the the glaze to the loaves.
My favorite way to make this is in mini loaf pans. They make a great gift size that way. Enough for one person to polish off in a couple of sittings. I made the mini loaves for my mom to give as Christmas gifts one year. I wrapped each loaf and then we put them into some Christmas pottery loaf pans from Michael's. Pretty cute, really yummy.
Since I'm on a cupcake kick here lately, I decided to stick these into cupcake liners and dub them muffins. Those I took to work and passed out to any coworkers I ran into. I caught my boss in her office and gave her one. Less than 15 minutes later, she found me and declared they were the "best muffins I've ever eaten" and then ate another one. :) That's what I like to hear.