This weekend I continued to pull the dust-covered cardboard boxes from the cupboard underneath the stairs, some cracked and fraying from use year after year, and among them lay a tangled array of forgotten Christmas lights, baubles wound up in the wires like roses caught among the brambles, and finally underneath the mess, small ornaments to be placed on window sills and around the house. Fuzzy white snowmen on a sled, a small figurine of Santa Claus sitting by his fire reading a letter which rolls down onto the floor, and some snow speckled trees carved from wood. We've made a little village atop the large book shelf in the living room from little ceramic buildings that have their windows carved out, and I managed to pull apart the white cob webbing for Halloween to make a simple layer of snow for the buildings to sit on. I also love how as I post this to my blog, a thin layer of snow rests delicately outside along the deck and down into the garden. Sadly, the wind must have blown the thin layer from the trees last night, but I remain happy in this little winter wonderland of my own.
They buildings sit perfectly arranged in a tight oval, and when the yellow Christmas lights are plugged in, the windows shine brightly as if little families sat snugly in their living rooms. The bakery across, not a palm widths more for us, is warmly lit, and the small garage and diner are bright and inviting, both situated around a tall model of an evergreen tree, which I also decorated with mini lights.
I love the comfort of this little village twinkling brightly when no other lights shine, and wish I could leave the village on during the night so I could wake to the warm glow of the miniature village appearing to be bustling with activity and Christmas cheer. But dad repeats that I'll burn down the house with the strand of lights arranged along a wooden bookcase and fake snow.
It's started with cookie swaps and a few Christmas parties filtering into the season, and its already become busy. School doesn't let out until less than a week before Christmas when our house will be full of people and preparations for the friends that come around Christmas Eve and those who return for Christmas dinner the following day. I am determined to cook a gluten-free dessert for the day, and I'm sure I'll be inclined to bake some elaborate cookies.
Because with an everlasting love for the holiday festivities, the season brings about rolling up the cuffs of our sleeves, diving into the pantry to look for our favourite cookie cutter shapes, and with ingredients neatly lined along the counter, we begin baking.
Is there really any better way to awaken that holiday cheer than filling the entire house with the warm and comforting aroma of sweet gingerbread, cardamom and vanilla scents? I'm sure if you haven't already, walking into an aromatic home, counters scattered with ingredients and the sink full of dishes from baking just as a tray of cookies is pulled from the oven, that you'll be tempted to run home and whip up a batch of your own kitchen delight.
'Tis the season for delightful cooking and cheer!
Pumpkin Pie Loaf
Print recipe here.
Again, I have resorted to trying guar gum in this recipe, I actually have found that it helps in the binding of all the ingredients, and makes it so that the loaf slices without crumbling nearly completely apart when I serve it. If you would prefer to use xantham instead of guar gum, the ratio is the same, or if you would rather not use any, the recipe will still work. I only recommend that in your gluten-free flour mix you incorporate starch, whether that be corn, tapioca, potato or arrowroot, as these help with the thickening, and make a nice blend of flours that is easy to use. Otherwise, any mix of flours can be used, I usually stick to any variety of at least three for a reliable consistency.
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 c pumpkin purée (I used canned)
1/4 c grape seed oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 c gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp guar gum
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan with butter or oil.
In a large bowl combine the sugar, pumpkin purée, eggs, oil, syrup, vanilla and lemon juice, and beat well.
Set this bowl aside, and in a smaller mixing bowl combine dry ingredients; flours, spices, baking powder and soda, salt and guar gum.
Pour into the wet ingredients and mix. The batter should resemble pumpkin purée, although slightly darker and thicker.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and set it in the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the loaf.
Allowing the bread to cool completely after baking will make it easier to slice, and also let the flavours develop further.
Labels: baking, bread, dessert, flour mix, gluten free, loaf, pie, pumpkin, snow, winter