My friend Robin makes the best pumpkin bread that I have ever had. In fact, among me and my friends, Fall is synonymous with Pumpkin Bread Season because Robin makes us all little pumpkin bread loaves as presents. And there is much rejoicing.
After Robin, the best pumpkin bread I have is actually from a box. Seriously, Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix is fantastic! It's fluffy, flavorful, and oh-so-easy to make. I usually pick up a few boxes every Fall when it comes out.
This year, Trader Joe's also got in Pumpkin Cranberry Scone Mix, which is also super tasty, but more expensive than the regular pumpkin bread mix. I was talking about this to my mother and wondered aloud if I could just get the regular mix at the lower price and add my own dried cranberries. She stood up, went to the cupboard, and pulled out a half-empty bag of dried cranberries.
And so, for my apartment's Halloween party, I made two loaves of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread. The first I made according to the box's instructions. To the second, I added a handful of dried cranberries and mixed them into the batter thoroughly before pouring it into the bread pan.
The result was, indeed, quite delicious, adding a nice fruity tang to the sweet pumpkiny goodness. It did, however, take another 15 to 20 minutes to bake than the regular mix had.
I realize Halloween is the holiday we usually associate with pumpkins, but I see no reason why pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins shouldn't be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving feast, especially with the addition of the strangely traditionally Thanksgiving-y cranberry.