Quick breads are great homemade treats to send in care packages as they ship well, taste great, and are easy to make. This Pumpkin Amaretto Quick Bread is a snap to make, it freezes well, ships without crumbling , and it tastes wonderful!
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Shipping Food in Care Packages?
I started sending seasonal care packages to my kids when they were in college. It ended up being such a delightful memory for them that I am still sending them every holiday, even though my kids have long-since graduated.
They absolutely love getting a package….who doesn’t?
It’s an easy way to keep loved ones close and top of mind when they live in a different state. Even with zoom and texting always available, there is something special about getting and opening a package that you have put made with love.
Although my care packages usually include a range of fun or needed “things”, they always have some sort of homemade food. Cookies, cupcakes and baked goods are well-loved treats around holidays, but they can be a problem to ship.
I have found that quick breads are the easiest baked good to ship. They can be wrapped as a rectangular loaf which readily fits into shipping boxes, and they don’t dry out or fall apart.
Keeping Quick Breads Fresh:
There were two quick breads that stood out as favorites to my college kids. One was the pumpkin Amaretto bread and one was a chocolate espresso bread. The pumpkin bread is now the standard for Fall care packages and the chocolate espresso bread is the go-to for Winter care packages.
They both taste delicious and they both ship well. The pumpkin bread is not quite as moist as the chocolate bread, as it is made with butter rather than oil.
If you are shipping to college kids, the moistness is important. While the USPS is great at ensuring 2-day shipping through priority mail or flat rate, my son’s college was horrible at getting packages to the kids in a timely manner.
College care packages often languished in the school’s postal department for up to 4 days, so it was particularly important to send something that kept well.
I would recommend making quick breads in smaller, disposable aluminum bread pans if sending to college kids. They tend to eat everything in their care package in the first couple of days and then it goes into some black hole in their dorm room and they forget about it until the mold calls upon them to find the source of the smell.
Smaller loafs seem to work better, even if your care package is not designed for the college student.
Is Pumpkin Amaretto Bread Healthy?
Not really. It has plenty of sugar, flour, butter and milk like most quick breads. The pumpkin itself, the nuts, and the eggs are healthy ingredients, but in the end it is a treat and not a health food.
I’m sure there are recipes available these days made with almond flour and sugar substitutes, but they have their own issues for some people.
Almond flour may not be processed white flour, but it is plenty high in calories (it takes a lot of almonds to make flour).
Sugar substitutes can be a good alternative to granular sugar, but different substitutes have particular flavors associated with them so it is good to understand what you are working with.
Also, some people don’t digest sugar substitutes well. This information on sugar substitutes may help if you want to go that route.
In the end, focus on the tastes and limitations of the loved one you are sending it to. It is a “care” package and nothing shows you care more than understanding and paying attention to the recipient.
How to Serve:
My favorite way to enjoy this bread at home is with a cup of herbal tea. This herbal tea blend with the warm spices pairs wonderfully with pumpkin Amaretto bread. The bread is moist enough that it can be served without butter, but a little butter smeared on top definitely doesn’t hurt anything!
If you really want your gift of homemade treats to be memorable and loved, send along some dried herbs and spices and print out this post on blending your own teas.
Pumpkin Amaretto Quick Bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1/2 cup = 1 stick; get it to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest grated with microplane
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree make sure it is 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 ½ ounces Amaretto
- 3 ½ tablespoons milk I used 2%
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans plus a handful to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. (Alternatively, use 2 small aluminum disposal loaf pans). Bring butter to room temperature.
- In medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt). Set aside.2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest and pumpkin puree and beat until combined.1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- Remove mixer bowl and add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixer bowl. Stir in until just incorporated (don't overmix). Stir in Amaretto and milk. Fold in the nuts, reserving a handful for the topping.1 1/2 ounces Amaretto, 3 1/2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven until a knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean, about 45-60 minutes.
- Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and sprinkle with reserved nuts. Then let it cool completely.
- If you are shipping this, wrap it securly in plastic wrap after it has cooled. Then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. It freezes well if not sending right away.
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