In my world breakfast doesn’t begin until coffee is present and accounted for. More often than not it’s thick, black espresso, lovingly nicknamed “jet fuel” made on the stove top in an old fashioned percolator. If I’m not at home, it’s a coffee shop Americano, but either way I want it to be strong, dark and bold. I don’t add cream or sugar to my coffee, but I do enjoy coffee in sweets like my Coffee and Cream Cake or warm coffee over vanilla bean ice cream for a classic affogato. Bittersweet is a flavor profile I really love. Coffee and cinnamon both fall into this category and I find them quite remarkable together, so these Cinnamon Espresso Oats were a somewhat obvious breakfast hybrid for me. They are simple to prepare – this is barely a recipe – but they make up for it in the complexity of their nuanced flavor. I’ve dressed them up here with some creamy slices of banana and crunchy green pumpkin seeds because I find oats to be at their best when they are part of a textural landscape with a variety of things going on. All alone they can be a bit, well, stodgy, but add a crunchy crisp something or a soft fruit and they get infinitely more exciting.
It’s officially been fall for a few days now and I can’t say that I mind. I always welcome the cooler weather and this year is no exception. I even have a new pair of brown corduroys in my dresser drawer that are calling out for a long fall walk in the woods with the camera, (perhaps wearing one of these? Love them, must order one!). However today’s rain (and wind warning), not to mention a case of the sniffles, has kept me indoors.
Not surprisingly, as a devoted lover of almost all things Autumn, pumpkin is one of my most favourite flavours so I don’t really mind that it seems to be everywhere: as soon as Labour Day passes, every bakeshop, coffee shop and restaurant adds this iconic squash to its menus. Lucky me, it is only a matter of weeks before my Uncle Rick will harvest the pumpkins from the pumpkin patch that crawls around the front garden of his house and make is famous pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. Light as air and boldly spiked with bourbon, his homegrown pumpkin pie in home made pastry is dessert perfection.
Hmm. I wonder if he’ll share the recipe …
Seriously though, I likely won’t be making from-scratch pumpkin pies this year, but I am certainly following suit with plans for a savoury sage-laden pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin soup and a pumpkin trifle, all of which I will share here in the coming weeks.
Until then, I have this sturdy pumpkin loaf to share. It’s nicely spiced with a clean, bright pumpkin flavour and the recipe is large, yielding 2 hefty loaves so there is plenty to share (or freeze for yourself for later). I hope you enjoy this recipe, woolly socks and hot tea, optional.
Pumpkin Spice Loaf
adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour
Preheat oven to 350° and grease 2 loaf pans
Whisk together in a medium bowl:
3 -1/2 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp salt
In another larger bowl, mix the following until well combined, stirring after each addition:
2 cups canned pumpkin puree (plain pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 -3/4 C sugar
1/4 C sour cream
3/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp hazelnut extract (double the vanilla if you don’t have hazelnut)
Once the wet ingredients are well incorporated, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in:
1-1/2 C finely chopped walnuts
Spoon batter equally between the 2 prepared loaf pans. Top with:
1/4 C green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), divided
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to mostly cool in the pan then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.