Pumpkin Spice Applesauce Bread
By the time our porch is decorated with pumpkins and the neighbors hedges are covered in fake cobwebs, I’ve dug back to the rear of my cupboards where I stashed cans of pure pumpkin puree the fall prior. I typically buy a few cans post-Thanksgiving Day, once they’re on sale for little more than a first class postage stamp. Then they sit in the back of my cupboard and wait to become part of a recipe such as this. My husband knows that when this time of year rolls around, he might find pumpkin in unpredictable places. I was once caught adding a touch of pumpkin puree to a batch of pizza sauce to add a few extra nutrients. It works (if they don’t see you add it, that is).
This year, I’ve stuck to more traditional uses for pumpkin. In addition to these yummy oat bars, pumpkin has found its way into a rather predictable batch of pancakes. I’m always looking for quick and new breakfast ideas – extra points if it can be eaten on the way to school – and this barely-sweet pumpkin bread became a fast favorite. I used paper loaf pans so I could easily share a loaf with a neighbor or friend. These pans are perfectly sized to accommodate 1/2 batch of this recipe, so I also experimented with different toppings. My older son liked the walnut variety, I liked the one with pepitas and my younger son like neither, picking all toppings off and handily devouring the bread underneath. Then asking for more.
Perhaps what I like best about this bread is its consistency and flavor. With just 1/2 cup brown sugar in the recipe, there is only a whisper of sweetness. The spices make up where the sugar is lacking, giving it a distinctly fall flavor. The moisture can be attributed to the pumpkin, olive oil and applesauce, which also offer fiber and healthy fat.
A final note for those who don’t like to be left with a 1/2 can of anything – I am usually one of those people (unless it’s pumpkin or chickpeas)! If you’d rather use the entire can, just double the recipe and use the full can of pumpkin. No need to measure. I was able to make two small loaves and one large loaf (using a 1-pound pan) when I doubled the recipe.