Pumpkin Bread… on the healthier side

I have a little problem with canned pumpkin. And no, I’m not going to say that I prefer fresh because I don’t, far too much trouble as far as I’m concerned. No, my problem is that, every year, I end up with a ridiculously large amount of it because
A. I can never remember if I have it or not so I always buy just a few cans more.
B. I don’t ever actually make that pumpkin pie I think I have to have it for. Ever. Frankly, I (and most everyone I know) prefer Costco’s pumpkin pie so I stick to making my berry and cream pies and leave well enough alone.

Therefore, I found myself staring at about 120 ounces of pumpkin puree in my pantry and decided something must be done. Pumpkin bread was the obvious choice as it’s my favorite pumpkin treat but, as much as I love it at Starbucks, I wanted to try a little healthier take on it.

I used coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it, eliminating a bit of the sugar shock and adding more complex flavor (if you can’t find coconut sugar, sub with brown sugar). The Greek yogurt and pumpkin make it really moist without adding extra fat so I didn’t need a lot of butter. And, using whole wheat flour and adding flax meal makes it more nutritious by adding extra fiber and protein. I ended up with a very moist, not too sweet bread with a wonderful maple/spice flavor that I felt a lot better about eating.

I’ve made a dent in my pumpkin supply by making a few batches in the last few weeks and have gotten rave reviews and recipe requests. So, here it is, hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread 
makes 2 loaves

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup canola oil or butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract
2 cups whole wheat flour (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill for a milder flavor)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice, ground
1/4 tsp ginger, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated or ground (eyeball it if you’re grating as it’s a pain to measure)
1/2 cup flax meal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 loaf pans by coating with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Gather ingredients and 2 large mixing bowls. Melt butter and allow if to cool a bit.

Place coconut sugar in first mixing bowl and work out large lumps with your fingers, don’t worry if some remain, they will dissolve in the batter.

Whisk in melted butter until fully combined. 

Whisk in maple syrup until fully combined

Whisk in eggs, one at a time, mix well after each.

 Stir in Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree until fully combined.

Add vanilla and maple extracts, stir well and set aside.

In second mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, b. soda, spices and flax meal with a wire whisk.

Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.

Batter will be thick. I switch to a rubber spatula when the whisk becomes too difficult.

Divide equally into the 2 prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35- 45 minutes.

Bread will be done when a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread bounces back when pressed with your finger.

Remove hot bread from pans and allow to cool on wire rack.

Slice just before serving. I find keeping it in loaf form for a day or two actually improves the texture but, of course, it’s also great while still a little warm from the oven!

This has nothing to do with pumpkin bread, or Thanksgiving for that matter. I’ve been seeing the ads for the movie and am interested to see if they can possibly do this book justice.  Great message here…

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” 

Yann Martel
Life of Pi


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2 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bread… on the healthier side

  1. You are amazing!!! What is the grater and the spice you're grating in one of the photos? Is that nutmeg? Where do we buy that in Bend, as well as coconut sugar and maple extract?

  2. Yes it's nutmeg and the grater is a Microplane zester/grater. You should be able to find everything at Newport market or Whole Foods. I actually bought the coconut sugar on Amazon but I know I saw it at Newport – it's just a bit more expensive of course :).

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