Are you a parent? Maybe a gay uncle? Do you dread Christmas morning after a night of assembling toys and sipping just a little too much eggnog in front of the tree knowing that you will be awakened by children jumping on your bed at 6 am, which in their minds demonstrates exquisite levels of self control because after all there are MOUNTAINS of gifts waiting for them downstairs under the tree and how do you not understand that?!
Now, while you’re doing your best bleary-eyed impression of a person who loves these children despite being woken at this ridiculous hour, I’ll be asleep because Santa always took extra special care of my parents, a favor he has continued with my sister Katie and her husband. See, when Katie, my brother Alec, and I were young, Santa left filled stockings at the foot of our beds so we could open those before waking Mom and Dad. There was often something needing a bit of assembly like a small LEGO set just to make sure we were entertained a bit longer before waking Mom and Dad.
Last year my nephew Jack woke me up at 6:30. Admittedly I was feeling less than charmed by his youthful exuberance knowing that I’d barely get into my first cup of coffee before wrapping paper and ribbon would be flying through the air. Then he handed me a painting he had done the night before and wished me a Merry Christmas. It was clearly an attack on the Death Star complete with Tie-Fighters and X-Wings. Maybe getting up at 6:30 isn’t so bad after all.
Pumpkin Bread with Miso Honey Butter
Makes one large loaf
Chinese Five Spice powder feels surprisingly Christmas-y with it’s blend of cinnamon, cloves and star anise, fennel and Szechuan peppercorn. Roast some extra pumpkin around Thanksgiving and you can throw a loaf or two of this together quickly the night before to enjoy while unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning.
- 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbs Chinese 5 spice powder
Miso honey butter:
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 2 tbs red miso paste
- 2 tbs honey
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar. In a small bowl whisk together remaining bread ingredients. Butter a 6 cup (8 ½ x 4 ½” ) loaf pan, fill with batter, smoothing the top with a spatula, and place in oven. Bake for up to 90 minutes until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out dry. Start checking around 75 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together butter, miso paste and honey.
- When bread is fully baked remove from oven and set baking pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool a few minutes longer. I like to slice it while still warm so the butter melts into the bread!
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