Parents Need to Eat Too

Yup, It’s Autumn: Pumpkin Bread

Yup, It’s Autumn: Pumpkin Bread

One day maybe five years ago, my friend and former colleague L brought a loaf of pumpkin bread to work; it was devoured in about sixty seconds—with our entire department fighting over who got the last slice. Of course I begged for the recipe. The original version called for 3 cups of sugar and a full cup of oil, but L had already lightened it considerably by the time she handed it over; now I’ve tweaked it a little more. You’ll find that it’s barely sweet, extremely moist, and bursting with the flavors of the season; it’s just the thing for a mid-morning (or afternoon) coffee break on a cool, sunny day. The beauty of this quick bread is that it takes full advantage of pumpkin’s best attributes: its smoothness, its natural sweetness, its moistness—all the things that let you get away with using very little fat, and not too much sugar.

When I was done I had some leftover pumpkin, so I stirred about 2/3 cup into the wet ingredients for an Oven-Puffed Pancake (and added the same mix of spices below to the dry), then topped it with some of yesterday’s Baked Apple Compote. It was a tasty variation on one of my standby weekend dishes.

This recipe makes two loaves. I suppose you could halve it, but then you wouldn’t have a spare to bring to work the next day, like I’m doing tomorrow!

Low-Fat Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves

Butter or cooking spray, for greasing pans
1 cup sugar [I used Splenda]
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
6 egg whites
20 oz pumpkin (if it’s canned, don’t use pumpkin pie mix—make sure it’s plain pumpkin)
1 t. vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. allspice
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves
2/3 cup water
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans with butter or cooking spray, and set aside. Cream together sugars and oil in a large mixing bowl; add egg whites, pumpkin, and vanilla and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture alternately with water, mixing well after each addition. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 60-75 minutes, switching placement in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking. Bread is done when a tester (I use a thin wooden skewer or a poultry lacing pin) comes out clean. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

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