Fall really showed up out of nowhere this weekend. For the past few weeks, the temperature had been in the mid- to high-70s, and it had been extremely humid. But today’s high is only 66 and the low is 42! There are only three days with highs over 70 degrees in the 15-day forecast. In my opinion, there’s no place that can match New England for fall, and I’m so excited to be here to enjoy it.
Of course, the arrival of fall means the arrival of my favorite flavors of the year: apples and apple cider, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg… the list goes on. Every fall, without fail, pumpkin bread is one of the very first things that I make to welcome in the season. My dad took a loaf of this bread to work one year, and his coworkers devoured it. It is, without a doubt, my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It is both earthy and spicy, with the flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon and cloves. It’s perfect for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. It’s hearty and dense and nothing is more comforting than curling up with some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and a slice of this pumpkin bread.
I use unsweetened applesauce instead of vegetable oil in this recipe because it saves a LOT of calories (approximately 915 per loaf, or just over 101 per slice if you cut 1″ slices). I promise that you won’t be able to tell the difference; it is still rich and luxurious even with the swap. I wouldn’t dare call this healthy, because the recipe still uses a lot of sugar, but it still feels good to be able to make a swap that cuts down so many calories without compromising flavor or texture.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (if you prefer vegetable oil, substitute 1 cup vegetable oil)
15 oz pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat together sugar, applesauce, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Stir one-third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, followed by approximately one-third of the water. Continue stirring in flour mixture alternately with water until ingredients are combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Storage: This bread has a high moisture content, so I would recommend that you store it in the refrigerator if it lasts more than a couple days. It tastes great after 15-20 seconds in the microwave (and maybe a pat of butter on top). It also freezes very well, so I usually wrap up one of the two loaves in cling wrap and tin foil, and then stick it in the freezer.