Brown Butter Sage Pumpkin Bread

Posted by Brette in Food

brown butt pumpMy kids and Mr. MarthaandMe love pumpkin bread. I make it every fall. I usually make two loaves and freeze one.  My November issue of Martha Stewart Living has arrived and there is a pumpkin bread recipe in it. I had to give it a try. It’s a bit weird though – sage? In pumpkin bread? Brown butter I was totally on board with. I love brown butter. I make this amazing rice dish with brown butter. Brown butter is an ingredient that is overlooked, I think. So I was totally cool with using it in this.

First, I browned the butter. You add your thinly sliced sage to that while it cooks. The rest of the recipe is pretty standard  – flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat with 1 cup regular), nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, baking powder, eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin.

This smelled FABULOUS when I was making it. The batter tasted great and I snitched a little with a spoon, I admit. When it was baking, it continued to smell amazing, but the smell was a little confusing. I normally associate the smell of sage with poultry, so to smell that while bread was baking was a little odd.

I made one regular size loaf – the recipe says to make 8 mini-loaves. Because of this, it needed to bake longer than the recipe said – about 50 minutes. It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven. I could barely taste the sage and I also could not really taste the brown butter, which was a big disappointment. This tasted like pumpkin bread, but with something just slightly different about it. If you didn’t know it included those ingredients, I don’t think you would ever guess they were in it. Everyone in the house ate it and everyone but Teen Martha enjoyed it. She said she thought it wasn’t sweet enough. Mr. MarthaandMe ate his with cream cheese spread on it (I think that’s yucky but he’s always done that). I don’t think I would make this again, although the recipe has now made me want to explore using brown butter in other recipes. Brown butter cookies? Brown butter muffins? The possibilities are endless.

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18 Responses

  • Sassy Radish has a recipe for brown butter pound cake that looks divine. You should check out her blog for the recipe and pics.

  • Will do. Thanks.

  • Melissa says:

    I heard you on Morning Living this am. I am always impressed by your enthusiasm on the air even though you seem so often to be disappointed with the projects you try… and even more impressed that you have managed to stay the course. Did I hear you say that you are doing a second year of this experiment?

  • Thanks for listening! I’m not sure what will happen once the year is up. I may scale things back and not do Martha every day – I just don’t know yet. It’s been a huge learning experience for me. Yes – some things are duds in my opinion. However, I’m just not good at crafts or gardening, so I have limitations there! As for the recipes, you never know. Some are amazing. Some are awful and some are just ok. And sometimes I think it has to do with what my own particular food preferences are – some people might love this sage pumpkin bread, for example. I also am convinced that Martha has impeccable taste, but she certainly is not personally involved in a lot of what comes out of MSLO. When she personally creates a recipe or talks about how she makes certain foods, it’s almost always spot-on. Those genuine Martha recipes are gems. And the photos of her house and gardens are just stunning – the woman knows how to surround herself with beauty.

    For me it’s all been about stretching myself to try new things and I always find that exciting. I’ve learned SO much from doing this. My daughter asked me how I will know what to cook for dinner when this is over – and I don’t know! Almost every night there is something Martha on the table. This project has really gotten me through a tough year. I lost my grandmother, turned 40, dealt with some health issues, and struggled with a “who am I” kind of midlife conundrum. Martha has given me something to focus on and this project has kept me moving forward always. It really has been fun!

  • Was the last question they asked me about if I was going to do a year 2? There was a problem with the audio and I only heard part of that question so I tried to just answer that since we were running out of time!

  • I really look forward to checking your kitchen every day to see what Martha has suggested and what you did with the suggestion. My sister-in-law loves pumpkin bread, so I will forward this recipe.

  • Kristi says:

    Thanks for the review! Are you a fan of Cook’s Illustrated magazine? They have recently done a couple of recipes for cookies with browned butter (Brown Sugar Cookies and a more classic Chocolate Chip cookie). Both are fabulous. That nutty flavor of the browned butter really comes through. On another note….did I read some where that you are a lawyer? Do you still practice at all? I was an attorney for 6 years (3 with a small firm and 3 with a large national firm) doing corporate and real estate work. I decided to stay home full time with my kids about 7 years ago. I’m always interested in what others have done in their “life after the law”. Congratulations on a very successful and interesting year of Martha. I always look forward to your posts.

  • Hi Kristi. I do like Cooks Illustrated, but am not a subscriber (not yet). Those cookie recipes sound amazing. Maybe I’ll add a subscription to my Christmas wish list.

    Yes, I was an attorney and left to be with my kids and to write books. I’ve never regretted it. There are a lot of us who have left the profession. I’m so glad you’re happy!

  • Frugal Man LOVES pumpkin bread. It doesn’t sound like it was a keeper, but I should try another brown butter recipe for him.

  • I was thinking about this more as the day went on. It’s lighter then the recipe I usually make. Mine is very dense and moist. This was a bit lighter. Some people might like that. I would skip the sage though. Smelling it made me long for Thanksgiving, I have to say!

  • This looks wonderful – and I don’t think the cream cheese spread sounds yucky. We just treated ourselves to two muffins from our favorite bakery. They were pumpkin muffins with a cream cheese filling.
    It’s definitely pumpkin season. Thanks for sharing this.

  • I recently made pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting and those were good, but somehow straight cream cheese doesn’t do it for me! A bakery around here has carrot muffins with a cream cheese filling and I like those a lot too. Yes, pumpkin season is upon us for sure!

  • Melissa says:

    I didn’t hear the full interview, so I don’t know how that year 2 question was handled, exactly, I just heard Betsy – in her recap – say that you were just about to start the second year.

    I had to chime in after reading these posts — I am lawyer, too. I am still practicing after 13 years(so far so good), but there are days when I wonder what the future holds.

    Good luck with everthing!

  • Hi Melissa. Nice to hear from you. I practiced divorce and family law and mediation and I found myself too emotionally involved. I think if I had gone into another area of law I might have found it less stressful. I did some wills and estate work and liked that tremendously though. Another big problem for me was I was in a solo practice and back then law school did not produce practice-ready graduates so I was always scrambling to figure out how to actually do things.

  • Melissa says:

    I hear you on that! I am a labor and employment attorney representing management… I work in a relatively large firm now, but worked in a boutique as a new lawyer and it was nerve-wracking. I still remember how relieved I was to do something for the second time… Less of that anxiety now, but there are still lots of challenges. BTW, law schools still do not produce practice-ready graduates, although the emphasis on internships and clinics helps new lawyers and the employers of new lawyers greatly! Good luck with your project — btw, I loved the kitchen tools list… if you run across a good list of “how to stock your pantry” please post it! My pantry is full of strange odds and ends and could use a refresher!

  • In the recent newsletter for my alma mater law school there was a whole section on how they believe they are producing “practice ready attorneys”. I’m not sure how that is possible since things are so very different even county to county within a state in terms of procedures and even forms.

    RE: Pantry – see my Feb 24, 2009 post titled “Pantry Prep” (wordpress is not letting me get a direct link to it, so type “pantry prep” into the search box on the home page of my site and it should be the second entry it brings up) — this includes Martha’s list of what should be in your pantry!

  • Melissa says:

    Ah, sounds like law school marketing to me… Much more importantly, thanks for the list! I will check it out.

  • Yes, definitely! I would love to hear your thoughts on the pantry list.