Recipe

Spiced Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread

Hazelnuts, toasty and buttery in all the right ways. Right up there with chestnuts this time of year, at least for the Italians. This rustic loaf studded with nocciole, plural for hazelnuts, is perfect for a holiday brunch, and don't forget to serve some warm maple syrup-cinnamon butter on the side. I plan to spend my Christmas sneaking slice after slice of this bread all morning long! Even better, make a sweet cream cheese spread with some sugar, baking spices, and maple syrup. Tis' the season for sweets and treats! Makes two 9x5x3 inch loaves.
1CUPhazelnuts
3CUPSall purpose flour
½TSPNground ginger
1TSPNground cinnamon
1TSPNfreshly grated nutmeg
½TSPNbaking powder
1TSPNbaking soda
3Xeggs
1Xstick unsalted butter, room temperature
1CUPgranulated sugar
1CUPlight brown sugar, packed
½CUPolive oil
2TBSPNSmaple syrup
1TSPNvanilla extract
24OZSpure pumpkin puree

  1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans, set aside.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with foil, place the hazelnuts on the tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lay out a kitchen towel on the counter. Once the hazelnuts are slightly toasted and aromatic, remove from the oven, place in the kitchen towel, and rub them against each other inside the kitchen towel for a few minutes. This will remove the skins of the hazelnuts, then roughly chop them and set the nuts aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 TSPN salt together to combine. 
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. 
  5. Add the granulated sugar and the light brown sugar to the softened butter, and mix until light and creamy, about 4 minutes.
  6. Pour in the olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract into the butter mixture, and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. 
  7. Adding one at a time, mix the eggs into the butter mixture, then beat in the pumpkin puree.  
  8. Once the pumpkin puree is fully combined, begin to mix in the dry ingredients in multiple batches. Slowly stir in the entire flour mixture, then fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
  9. Spread the batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans, smoothing out the tops, and place in the middle rack of the oven.
  10. Bake for 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Release the loaves from the pans and continue to cool on the racks. 
  11. Optional: drizzle with a spiced glaze, confectioner's sugar, or serve individual slices with a maple syrup-cinnamon butter. 

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