Today was miraculous. Here is why: It snowed. A lot. Like almost two feet. And it was windy. So windy my windows were bowing in last night and the cats were wailing helplessly as they ran through the apartment. This is what happens in Wisconsin when the wind gusts reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
But the real miracle was not the crazy weather. Below zero cold and lake effect winds are all in a day’s walk to work around here. No. The miracle was that today, we had a SNOW DAY.
This never happens. The public school district called off school the day before (unheard of!); city buses weren’t running this morning (insane!) my workplace sent a reluctant email telling us not to come in (surprising!); and the media called for the life-threatening storm of the millennium (not at all unexpected. Way to dramatize things, as usual, Milwaukee media).
Naturally, this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime event called for celebration. In the form of something hot and comforting and spicy that went with coffee so that I could snack on it all day long. Translation: Pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin bread that was sweet, but filled with heavy spices–ginger, fancy cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves. Speaking of icing, sweet bread needs a topping that knocks the sugar around a little–thus a tangy cream cheese glaze was absolutely necessary.
Also, just so you know, I cheated. These are not really bread. They’re little cakes masquerading as bread. I mean, come on, there’s even icing. But let’s just go ahead and call it bread because it will make us feel better about eating a few loaves right out of the oven, yes? Yes.
So if you need me, I’ll just be over here, downing slice after slice of cake–I mean, bread–for every meal today, while I watch the glorious Party Down on Netflix Instant and hope my snow day, and my supply of pumpkin bread, never ends.
Mini Spiced Pumpkin Bread Loaves with Cream Cheese Glaze
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes about 14 mini loaves
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a mini-loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, all spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat sugars, melted butter, and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions.
Divide batter into pans, filling about 3/4 full for a pretty, puffy top. You will probably need to bake in two batches, so refrigerate the leftover batter until the first batch comes out of the oven. (Unless you are lucky enough to have two mini loaf pans, in which case, go crazy and bake them all at once.) Checking often, bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, between 30-40 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes; then turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.
For cream cheese glaze
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed
4 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed
Splash vanilla extract
In electric mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy; add milk and vanilla until you reach desired consistency and flavor–which should be tangy and thick but drizzle-able, not runny and sweet.