Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread with Pecan Streusel

Earlier this fall, in an effort to get the most out of our favorite season, my husband and I made a "Fall Bucket List" for our family -- a list of about 20 things we want to do before winter descends upon us. The list has entries like "Rake the leaves and jump in the leaf pile" (check!), "Read 15 fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving books" (in progress), and "Drink pumpkin beer" (adults only, of course, and trust me, that was THE FIRST ITEM Joe and I checked off).

One of the items on the list is about fall baking: Bake an apple pie, a really good loaf of pumpkin bread, and one scary Halloween treat. The apple pie will most likely be happening next weekend, since we're going apple picking on Sunday (another item on the list). The Halloween treat is happening this weekend, and the pumpkin bread happened this past weekend.

I have a pumpkin bread recipe that I really like, but this time around I wanted to make something special: one that included both a cream cheese layer and a streusel topping (most recipes, including my go-to, have neither, or just one or the other). Andrew and I baked this bread on Sunday morning while Joe and Will slept in, and Andrew helped me every step of the way. He even swirled the cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin batter, and he was quite enthusiastic about it -- which is why you can only see a little bit of the cream cheese layer, as the rest got mixed into the pumpkin batter. But it didn't make this bread any less delicious, and I am so happy that he loves being in the kitchen with me so much.

This bread is pumpkin perfection, and it should be on everyone's fall bucket list!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread with Pecan Streusel
adapted from Hungry Couple

For the streusel:

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cream cheese layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the pumpkin batter:

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the streusel topping, combine the flour, sugars, pecans, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add butter and mix until completely combined. Set aside.

2. To make the cream cheese layer, blend the ingredients with a hand mixer, stand mixer or food processor until thoroughly combined and free of lumps. Set aside.

3. Make the bread dough by combining together the butter, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla and pumpkin and mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, spice and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.

4. Pour half the bread batter into a greased loaf pan, add the cream cheese mixture and swirl into the bread batter with a knife. Top with the remaining bread batter and sprinkle on the streusel topping.

5. Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then gently remove from loaf pan. We enjoyed it served warm.