Baby Pumpkin Bread

I know, I know.  I haven’t posted in forever 😦  I had lots of excuses made up for you – work going haywire, hitting my “quarter life crisis” (Yeah, yeah…. I see you rolling your eyes.  Okay fine, 25 is not that old.  But at the time it totally felt like a big deal!), discovering new, amazing ways to torture my already feeble muscles (more on that later!).  BUT, at the end of the day, I was just being lazy.  I’ll own up to that 🙂

Anyway!  As a peace-offering, I made you one of my favorite dishes – pumpkin bread!  The weather in NYC got wonderfully, blissfully cool for a few days, and I gleefully pulled out my leggings, boots, and sweater dresses.  Love!!  But then it reverted back to muggy and hot, ew.  But in that much too short preview of my absolute favorite season, I popped these in the oven, and have been meaning to share it with you.

I had to scour 3-4 grocery stores before I found canned pumpkin, but when I finally did I stocked up, whew!  I also picked up my favorite blend of spices – pumpkin spice!  It just smells like all the best things about fall (think apple cider, leaves changing color and big family gatherings involve tons of food), and when you add it to oatmeal, coffee or smoothies… heavenly 🙂  But the best is when you bake with it… I swear the room transforms into the baked goods version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  Minus the scary orange people singing creepy songs.

Baby Pumpkin Bread (adapted from Cozy Kitchen)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can also use all-purpose, I just like the taste of whole wheat.  And it’s better for you!)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used half veggie oil, half unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup egg substitute, or 2 large eggs
1/2 cups of granulated splenda or stevia
1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts
Unsalted sunflower seeds, for decoration / added happiness

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grab a chopping board, and chop up the walnuts into small pieces.  Don’t make it too fine – you want pieces large enough to give you that yummy nutty crunch 🙂  Set aside when you’re done chopping – these go in last.

Best part of the bread!

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  In a separate bowl, on a stand mixer or using a handheld blender, mix together the canned pumpkin vegetable (and applesauce if you choose to sub out some of the oil), egg, and sugars until completed blended.

The lighting's no good in the picture, but the wet mix is this beautiful, rich orange 🙂

Slowly fold in the dry mixture by hand until it’s incorporated, try not to over mix it.  Gently stir in the walnuts.  Grab a 9×5 bread pan, or for extra cuteness and portability, use a muffin tin or this adorable pan for mini breads that I got for my birthday (thanks mom and dad!).  Be sure to spray it with cooking spray, or lightly grease with butter oil to prevent sticking.  Portion the batter into the square, and sprinkle with sunflowers:

I love this pan!! I kinda made a mess, and tried to clean it up. Can you tell? (Say no)

Bake for 30-40 minutes.  The mini ones took about 30 minutes, I imagine using a normal bread pan would take a little.  Either way, start checking around the 25 minute mark – stick a toothpick (or small fork, though it makes a lot of holes) into the center of one of the breads, and if it comes out clean you’re good to go!  I may have overfilled them a little, but they turned out okay.  They may have overflowed a little but not too bad!

Okay, so a little bit of a muffin top! But it's the good kind 🙂

Why the weird angle, you ask?  It’s because the bottom left one that’s hidden no longer has a muffin in it.  I got really hungry, and with all the delicious smells, I snuck a bite that turned into an entire muffin, then two… and then felt silly because I forgot I was supposed to take a picture… oops…

I’m sad the picture doesn’t show how pretty the color is – you can see it a tiny bit better in this one.  I swear I need to get a camera, mine’s been broken for months, AND I lost the memory card.  Sad.

Breakfast, afternoon snack and dessert for the new week!

ALSO!  I keep forgetting to mention this, but if you guys ever want to try any of these things, let me know!  Please come by and take some 🙂 It’s really dangerous for me to have all these baked goods around, and I’m always dying to get them off my hands.  The boy can only eat so much 🙂

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