Monday, October 13, 2008

My Next Column

Pumpkin Bread- A Delicious Way To Make New Friends
By Kathi Dameron

The aromas of autumn swirl through the old Havana Bank building as I write today’s column. So enticing are these fragrant old-fashioned scents, I wonder how I will be able to stick to my diet.

I try to tell myself that nothing tastes as good as thin feels…but all too often the desire for immediate gratification prevails. After all someone needs to be the taste tester and make certain that the flavoring is simply perfect before a hundred or more batches are stirred up.

This week, I’m going totally against my grain by baking a cornucopia of pumpkin-filled confections that are not yet sold. For a sugar addict, such as myself, this is very dangerous.

My inspiration for this pumpkin-palooza baking frenzy is the Annual Havana Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, October 18, when masses of festivalgoers descend on the quaint, historic old tobacco town, a pumpkin seed toss away from Tallahassee.

Several years ago, long before my days as a Tallahassee caterer, I discovered a delicious recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin bread in Southern Living magazine. The recipe became one of my all time favorite autumn breads. I would often devote leisurely Sunday afternoons during the season of harvest to baking dozens and dozens of loaves that I would share with neighbors, friends and colleagues.

Back in those days, I found great joy in cooking up these surprise food gifts for old friends and new. And believe me…when one comes bearing the gift of food, they can make a lot of friends pretty quick. Another great advantage of giving away home baked sweets is that sugary temptations are removed from your own kitchen, which is a very good thing especially for all us fluffy, kindred souls who love to bake, but are constantly challenged by the act of moderation when it comes to sweet indulgences.

If you are looking for a delicious and old-fashioned way to connect with people this season… there is not a sweeter gesture than sharing the delicious bounty from one’s kitchen.

Simply bake, cool, then wrap for freezing and/ or gifting. Pumpkin breads are a perfect treat for October and November noshing. Tuck a festively wrapped and beribboned loaf in a rustic basket with a jar of homemade preserves, perhaps some spiced cider mix and you will have the makings of a great autumn flavored food gift.

Easy As Pie –Pumpkin Bread (The Canopy Rose version of a tried and true favorite)
One batch of your favorite pumpkin bread batter
8 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. chopped pecans
Streusel topping
Glaze (optional)

Mix pumpkin batter, chocolate chips and pecans together. Spoon mixture into greased and floured loaf pans. Top with streusel. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

Drizzle with a glaze, if desired. Glazes are the easiest thing in the world to whip up and are best when you express your own creativity in the concocting of them! Right now I’m thinking of doing a spirited glaze with a shot of Kahlua and Cream, a bit of butter, powdered sugar and a dusting of autumn spices.

Kathi Dameron is a Tallahassee area caterer and food writer. She owns Canopy Rose Culinary Arts Studio and Catering Company. Visit her online at
She can be reached at 850-539-7750 or at .

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