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You can either make this gingerbread as a loaf or muffins. Either way, the orange glaze adds the perfect finishing touch!
3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter or vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup (9 ounces) brown sugar
2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup (2 ounces) crystallized ginger, minced
1/2 cup diced pecans or chocolate chips (optional)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) molasses
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare your pans -- grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans for loaves; if you're making muffins, grease 24 muffin cups or line them with muffin papers.
Mix: In a large bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, ginger, and nuts, if you're using them, then mix well -- the batter will look crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in both the molasses and the pumpkin until they are evenly distributed. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, if you're using them. Scoop the batter into the greased loaf pans or the muffin cups -- filling the cups about 2/3 full.
Bake: Bake the muffins in the preheated 350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on the edges and the middle springs back when touched. Bake the loaves at the same temperature for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan(s). Let it cool a bit then glaze, if you like (see below). Yield: 2 loaves or 24 muffins.
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) confectioners' sugarIn a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the glaze ingredients until smooth, adding additional liquid, a bit at a time, until the glaze has the consistency of molasses or will drizzle from a spoon in a long strand.
1/8 teaspoon tangerine oil or orange oil OR 1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) water or milk
For a shiny finish, brush the glaze over the bread or muffins while they're still warm; for a thick white finish, cool the bread completely before glazing.