Pumpkin Spiced Walnut Bread

I like to trick (and treat) myself into being healthy. I feel less guilty about eating chocolate chip cookies late at night if at least my breakfast is nutritious.  Pumpkin is rich in fibre, potassium, iron, vitamins A and E. But possibly even more important is the fact that the pumpkin in this loaf, coupled with the Thanksgiving bounty spices, makes early mornings feel like a holiday. What’s more I get to savour all the pumpkin, spicy goodness of pumpkin pie without the icky, squishy, jelly-like consistency. Sorry, I have an aversion to pumpkin pie filling. I don’t know why, but I feel the need to apologize. I just don’t like the texture.  But the flavourings are totally Fall and utterly up my alley. So let’s turn a negative into a positive and bake bread instead.

Will stay moist for days, wrapped well in the fridge.

Will stay moist for days, wrapped well in the fridge.

Pumpkin Spiced Walnut Bread – Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Position a rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch or 8 cup loaf pan. Or fit with a sheet of parchment paper as securely into the pan as possible, no need to grease it.

Whisk thoroughly:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Combine in another bowl:

1/3 cup milk or water

½ teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, beat until creamy, about 30 seconds:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil

Gradually add and beat on high speed until lightened in colour and texture, about 3 to 4 minutes (These are approximate measures for sweetness. The original recipe calls for 1 1/3 cup of brown and white sugars but I dialed back the sugar):

About ½ cup brown sugar

About ½ cup honey

Beat in 1 at a time:

2 large eggs

Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula to make sure honey is incorporated.

Add and beat on low speed just until blended:

1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened, not pumpkin pie filling. Can also substitute cooked, mashed squash, yams or sweet potatoes)

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with milk mixture in 2 parts, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

Fold in:

½ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans

½ cup raisins or roughly chopped dates

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until knife inserted into centre comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

Position a rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch or 8 cup loaf pan. Or fit with a sheet of parchment paper and no need to grease it.

Whisk thoroughly:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Combine in another bowl:

1/3 cup milk or water

½ teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, beat until creamy, about 30 seconds:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil

Gradually add and beat on high speed until lightened in colour and texture, about 3 to 4 minutes (These are approximate measures for sweetness. The original recipe calls for 1 1/3 cup of brown and white sugars but I dialed back the sugar):

About ½ cup brown sugar

About ½ cup honey

Beat in 1 at a time:

2 large eggs

Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula to make sure honey is incorporated.

Add and beat on low speed just until blended:

1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened, not pumpkin pie filling. Can also substitute cooked, mashed squash, yams or sweet potatoes)

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with milk mixture in 2 parts, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

Fold in:

½ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans

½ cup raisins or roughly chopped dates

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until knife inserted into centre comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

Keeps for a week, well wrapped in the fridge. Also freezes well after it’s baked. Just thaw in fridge for up to two days before slicing.

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One Response to Pumpkin Spiced Walnut Bread

  1. Cheryl says:

    Beautiful loaf! I saw this this afternoon and thought I’d give it a try! Delish! Even Ty loved it and asked that it be added to his school lunch!

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