Holiday Food Gifts: Festive Mini-Bread Loaves

There’s a long and great tradition of gifting food in most cultures. Giving homemade food gifts speaks of love, warmth and joy. I am a United Methodist clergywoman, and in the south there was a tradition of welcoming a new pastor with a “pounding”.  Parishioners brought pounds of food: a pound of butter, flour, sugar, jam, ham, or even a chicken (sometimes still with feathers and wandering around). Money was scarce, but providing a greeting of food was a rich tradition.

As a teenager in Nebraska, I loved the many gifts of food that our family received. My favorite was a tray of homemade divinity and fudge. I’ve never mastered the art of divinity for sheer lack of trying, but how I loved the sweet, light goodness! My dad made and gave away small jars of homemade peppernuts with their spicy, crunchy goodness, along with homemade peanut brittle.

My personal favorite for holiday food gifts are small loaves of bread–any kind of bread. Our asst. innkeeper, Jenna, made these super-cute and delicious pumpkin breads. Usually, she tops them with a maple glaze. Just find a pretty mini-loaf pan, and you’ve got a great gift.


3 cups sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 eggs, whisked
1- 16 ounce can of pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water

Maple glaze:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon half & half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Stir together the sugar and oil. Add the eggs and pumpkin, stir well. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. In a measuring cup mix combine the milk and water. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk mixture, to the sugar/pumpkin mixture. Stir until well incorporated.
Divide batter between two loaf pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on rack to cool

When cool, whisk all glaze ingredients except for the pecans. Spread the glaze on the loafs. Sprinkle pecans on top. Slice and serve. Yum!

Note: The pictured pumpkin loaves are topped with cinnamon sugar & pecans, not the maple glaze.

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
Kristie Rosset
The Arkansas Broad

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