Healthier Pumpkin Bread, with a Lunchbox Bonus

13 Sep

Here in Maryland, the nights are cool and the days are dry and breezy. Football jerseys and jeans are out of the closet and we’re starting to think about our beloved sweaters, tho we’re not quite ready to give up flip-flops yet. Fall is waving hello to us, and after a summer that saw record heat and terrible storms, we’re more than ready.

Bring on the pumpkin bread.

Honestly, I’ve talked with neighbors about this–it’s a topic of actual discussion. I told one I’d made pumpkin bread a week or two back and she sighed with relief. “Oh good,” she said. “You’ve opened the gate, and now I can make some too.” For some reason, pumpkin is a decidedly autumn food and we’re not comfortable with it before the season hits.

Pumpkin bread is a favorite in our house. That’s good, because a loaf is simple to whip up and makes both a great breakfast and a tasty snack. More on that in just a sec.

My recipe started as one from Cooking Light, which is something of a Bible around here. I greedily paw through each issue the second it thunks through the mail slot, and I have binders filled with ripped-out recipe from its pages. The recipes are great, but the articles are really well done too, and there are lots of cooking techniques to be learned in its pages.

I fiddled with this for a few reasons. I replaced some of the white flour with wheat–pumpkin is so moist on its own that this recipe can take it without anyone knowing the difference. I also replaced some of the white sugar with brown, and because that tastes sweeter, was able to significantly reduce the total amount of sugar called for in the original recipe. I also like that the brown sugar brings a taste of molasses to this, which makes it even more fall-like after a long, hot summer.

This recipe makes two loaves. Lots of times, I’ll make both. But I also will make one loaf of bread and 24 mini-muffins out of this, and then bag the muffins three-to-a-pack in snack bags, put the snack bags into gallon freezer bags, and pop them into the freezer, just like my DIY Little Bites. They’re a great lunchbox snack–my kids love them–and they go from freezer to lunch beautifully. And I feel better about getting a little fruit and a little whole wheat into them that way. You don’t need muffin tin liners for these–they’ll pop right out with the help of a little nonstick spray before baking.

Final note: you can make these with a gluten-free baking mix. Like I said, the pumpkin is wonderfully moist and this goes gluten-free really well. Just beware that the gluten-free mix doesn’t have baking powder already in it; if it does (Arrowhead does, for example), reduce it in the recipe by half. You’ll trash your oven otherwise and yes, I speak from experience on that one.

This is delicious with a smear of cream cheese or butter, or all by itself. I hope you enjoy it too. You’ll need:

1 c wheat flour

3/4 c light brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

2 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp  baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves (reduce this if your kids like less spice in their pumpkin)

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

A scant 2/3 c canola or vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 15-oz can pumpkin

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat two loaf pans (or one loaf pan and 24 mini-muffin or 12-regular muffin tins) with nonstick spray.

In a mixer, combine flour through nutmeg until well combined. Add oil, eggs, and pumpkin and mix on low speed until combined. Spread into loaf pans and/or muffin tins (fill them 2/3 full) and bake. A loaf should bake for about 55 minutes. Mini-muffins should take about 15 minutes, and check on regular muffins after about 25 minutes.

6 Responses to “Healthier Pumpkin Bread, with a Lunchbox Bonus”

  1. September 13, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    What a great recipe and a very nice blog.

  2. Laura Beutler September 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Perfect timing. My daughter is addicted to the Wegman’s Pumpkin muffins, so I was thinking of just making and freezing my own. I bought a box of pumpkin quickbread mix (egads, I know…) because I’m lazy, but I promise to give yours a try!

  3. Michele September 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Thanks for mentioning the gluten free flour. It is National Celiac Awareness Day!

  4. Deborah September 14, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    Yum! I will definitely try this recipe. I have a recipe for pumpkin/chocolate chip cookies from a mom of a kinder I had last year.
    I also love your “little Bites” idea. Perfect for Colton.

    • Yolanda June 7, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Try this recipe:INGREDIENTS6 cups checikn stock1 1/2 teaspoons salt4 cups pumpkin puree1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley1 cup chopped onion1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme1 clove garlic, minced1/2 cup heavy whipping cream5 whole black peppercorns DIRECTIONSHeat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

  5. Lisa Sarafidis September 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    Just made these- huge hit with my kids, and neighborhood kids. My daughter wants three for her lunch box tomorrow!

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