Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans for loaves; if you're making muffins, grease 24 muffin cups, or line them with muffin papers.

  2. In a large bowl mix together the butter (or shortening) and brown sugar until well blended.

  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, ginger, and nuts or chips, if you're using them. Mix well — the batter will look crumbly.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.

  5. Stir in the molasses and pumpkin, combining well.

  6. Scoop the batter into the greased loaf pans or the muffin cups, filling the cups about 2/3 full.

  7. Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they're lightly browned on the edges and the middle springs back when touched. Bake the loaves for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  8. 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 desired.

  9. To make the glaze: Whisk together all the ingredients, adding extra liquid until the glaze is smooth and the consistency of molasses.

  10. 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.

  11. Store well wrapped on the counter for 3 to 4 days; or freeze for up to 3 months.