Holiday Gift Ideas with Pumpkin Cheese Bread

Country Living magazine is one of my favorites.  I receive it as Christmas present every year and I always look forward to finding it in my mail box each month.  Magazines make great gifts because they are relatively inexpensive and the recipient can enjoy them throughout the whole year. Think about that when you’re can’t decide on a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list.  Country Living happens to have great recipes, decorating ideas, clever craft projects, and information on the hippest collectibles. (Note - Country Living is not compensating me to say this.  It’s just the truth.)

I have a couple other great gift suggestions that I’ll get to by the end of this post, so please follow along.  (None of the other companies are compensating me either.  It’s just the truth too!)

The November 2011 issue of Country Living sports some pretty delicious looking recipes that remind us readers of next months anticipated feast – Thanksgiving.  I was particularly enamored by a recipe for Pumpkin Cheese Bread, a rustic, wholesome looking bread with an intriguing line up of ingredients.

Because this recipe caught my fancy, I decided to make the bread, or should I say a slightly modified version of it.  I LOVE the way the bread turned out.  The flavor and light, soft texture are perfect. I know it won’t be long and I’ll be making more. It’s going fast – too fast!  With a few tricks up my sleeve I modified the recipe so is not identical to Country Living’s printed version.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour + 1/4 c. for 1st kneading

1 tbsp. light brown sugar 

1 tbsp. yeast

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. Aji Amarillo chilies, dried and minced fine

1/8 tsp. Vietnamese cinnamon

1/2 tsp. butternut squash seed oil

3/4 c. pureed pumpkin

1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese

1 c. water

In a large bowl; add flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt, dried pepper, cinnamon, squash seed oil, pumpkin puree and cheddar cheese.  Lightly stir ingredients until blended.  Pour in water and mix by hand until all ingredients are combined. * I did not use a mixer for this recipe.

Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface (using the 1/4 cup of flour you set aside).  Knead dough until it forms a smooth ball.  Place ball in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set in draft free location and rise until doubled.

On lightly floured surface; punch dough down and roll into two loaves.  Place in greased bread pans, cover, and let rise until nearly doubled. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.  Turn onto cooling racks and brush with butter.

pumpkin bread 049

If you really want to make the most of your bread then make a fresh sandwich with it.  This sandwich is complete with turkey, lettuce, tomato, Hellman’s mayo, Naples Valley Brand Mild Mustard, and black pepper.

sandwiches 007

Now, I promised to share some more great gift giving ideas with you.  These ideas are perfect for the foodies in your life.  The ones that like to eat, and the ones that like making good eats.

1.) MarxFoods.com offers the most unique line of specialty foods and ingredients I’ve ever seen in one place.  Whether your looking for dried chilies like I used in my recipe, truffles, edible flowers, whole spices, or frog legs, you will find it at Marx Foods.  Their orders ship the same day if you order by 10AM Eastern time, or you can choose your delivery date at checkout.  All of their prices include shipping. 

2.) King Arthur Flour is a US 100% employee owned/100% committed to quality company. They are located in Norwich, Vermont. They offer  top of the line baking supplies and tools. From secret ingredients like their robust boiled cider, to the Vietnamese cinnamon I used in my bread, to pre-made mixes of just about any kind,  or their cute cupcake wrappers, they’ve got you covered.  They also offer a gift card option which takes even more work out of your holiday shopping. View their catalogue on-line, or order yourself a hard copy and start your holiday shopping early.

3.) Stony Brook WholeHeartedFoods is small Finger Lakes company  located in Geneva, NY.  They produce the finest food grade roasted squash and pumpkin seed oils you will ever find.  This is a farm to table product.  The oils are processed in small batches and are a healthy, delicious alternative to olive oil. The uses for them are endless. The Butternut Squash Seed Oil I used in my recipe has a wonderful, buttery, nutty flavor that really enhances any recipe.  My suggestion – fill all of your foodie friends stockings with these oils, and don’t forget to buy a bottle or two for yourself.  Ordering is made simple through their on-line store, or look for a retailer near you from their website.

4.) Naples Valley Brand Products is a small company that hand-makes delicious products from their kitchen at the Bristol Mountain Winter Resort in Bristol, NY.  They offer jalapeno jams, sweet jams, marinated garlics, gourmet mustards, dipping oils, vinegars, sauces, seasonings, rubs and spices, and stuffed olives. Their products are available to order on-line, and their gift boxes are make a perfect gift choice.  Naples Valley Brand Products offers free shipping on orders over $50.00.  I am proud to say I’ve been buying their mustard since it first hit the shelves.

Hopefully, my suggestions will help make your holiday shopping a little easier.  If you make this bread please post it on your blog and share the link back here under the comments section.  We would love to see it!