Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Festival Recipe Exchange: Cantaloupe Bread

This is the first time in three years since I've learned about its existence that I've watched it go by:  Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-Thon.  I had about seven things planned for this past weekend, three of which were at the various schools I attend and teach.  I had to make the hard choice and say no to the readathon this fall.
I've caught up (a wee bit) on my Google reader and found some exciting things going on today!  My friend Trish from my master's program over at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity announced (with a delicious-looking coconut oatmeal cookie recipe, might I add!) that today My Friend Amy is hosting her second annual Fall Festival Recipe Exchange.  This is a great opportunity to find some new favorites and share one of your own.
Scott and I have, within the past year or so, discovered the joys of Cantaloupe Bread. One day we cut into a store-bought cantaloupe that felt ripe but was not sweet at all.  This was completely on accident, of course, for who would do this on purpose?!  But the accident was actually a blessing in disguise, because through the cantaloupastrophe came good.

I can't waste.  I was not raised to throw away food.  I was not raised to leave uneaten food on my plate.  I was not raised to throw something away that tasted a bit weird.  My mom has the uncanny ability to turn something that seems iffy and/or icky into an amazing cassarole, stir-fry, enchilada, or stew.  And, in all my life, the only time I ever got food poisoning was from a pizza place in Mississippi on a trip to visit Grandmother in Tennessee.  So, I think my mom's methods are dependable.

As soon as we determined that the cantaloupe was not sweet enough to be edible, I jumped online and started sleuthing for recipes so that we wouldn't have to throw the melon away.  After a few disastrous clicks (who would eat cold cantaloupe soup!?! gross!!), I happened upon a recipe for cantaloupe bread with a praline glaze.  We whipped it up that night, sans glaze, and it was pretty good.  To me, it tasted like pumpkin bread except with slightly less flavor.  So, the next time I made it, I added more spices and altered several of things that I didn't like about the original recipe, and ~voila!~ it was the best bread I had ever eaten, if I don't count my mother's Gramp's Dinner Rolls or Homemade Crescent Rolls.  Definitely the best dessert bread I had ever eaten and the easiest one I had ever baked.  We have been making it ever since, whether the cantaloupe is mild or sweet!

Without further ado...

KB's Cantaloupe Bread*

2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups cantaloupe – peeled, seeded, and pureed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla, and pureed cantaloupe.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and other optional spices.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture; stir to combine.

4. Pour batter into prepared pans.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.  Let cool slightly in pans (about 20 minutes), and then cool entirely on wire racks.

6. May be served warm with or without butter, or at room temperature.

7. For storage, wrap cooled loaves separately in plastic wrap, and then cover with aluminum foil to preserve freshness.  The bread stays fresh for about a week, out of the refrigerator in a cool kitchen, or in the refrigerator in a warm kitchen.

*recipe altered from  They ask for 3 eggs and more sugar, which it doesn’t need. They also don’t use as many yummy spices as I do, because they serve the bread with a praline glaze.  If I have more than 2 cups pureed cantaloupe, I go ahead and put it all in.  The consistency of the bread stays about the same and just makes a little more!