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suddenly waning

October 28 2012 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Bread,Breakfast,Dessert,Recipe » 10 comments

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Here in Chicago, we’ve reached that time of year when the leaves on the trees are outnumbered by the leaves that pad the sidewalks, crunching underfoot (or, these days, under the stroller wheels).  When dinner is increasingly eaten after the sunsets.  When the farmers’ markets are winding down, or preparing to move to their scaled-down, winter locations.  And when at least one early morning walk has required a big scarf or even a knit hat.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

It’s when a panic sets in.  After summer’s seeming endlessness, autumn, my hands-down favorite of all the seasons, is suddenly waning.  I do the only sensible thing to combat such panic: I stockpile canned pumpkin and I preheat the oven.  Or warm the waffle iron.  Or set the soup pot over a flame.  Well—you get the picture.  This annual panic means that I start cooking and baking with pumpkin, and frequently.  Halloween just ups the ante, emanating that candle-burnt-pumpkin-flesh aroma, which sends me straight into the kitchen.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

First on my pumpkin list every fall is this quick bread.   I’ve been making it for years.  But it’s a recipe that’s evolved over time, like the best ones in your recipe file do.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

I’ve played around with various flours (whole wheat is my favorite, for its heartiness and its healthfulness, and for the fact that I usually have it on hand), the sweeteners (Grade B pure maple syrup is my preference, but granulated or brown sugar work, too, and I’m confident that other sweeteners would make fine stand-ins), the fat (grapeseed oil is my go-to neutral oil, but canola or vegetable oil do the trick, too; olive oil, though, was a little too assertive for my taste), and mix-ins (chocolate chips have gone by the wayside in favor of a handful of granola or, best of all, toasted walnuts).  The loaf will also happily accept a variety of pumpkin-pie-ish spices (I usually opt for just cinnamon), and it gets a boost from vanilla extract or, if I’m feeling extravagant, a glug of bourbon.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

In other words, there are plenty of variations to keep me baking through these late fall days, coping with the panic one loaf at a time.


Pumpkin Walnut Bread

3/4 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B) or granulated sugar
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a large (8-, 9- or 10-inch) loaf pan.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

10 comments so far. »
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  1. Katie says on October 29 2012 at 10:57 am:

    Hi Kristin,
    I noticed you said you preferred to use whole wheat flour for the pumpkin bread, but wrote down all-purpose flour in the recipe I was wondering if you used all whole-wheat flour or half whole wheat and half all-purpose? Thanks.

  2. Katie says on October 29 2012 at 11:01 am:

    Sorry for the grammar mistake above comment; I just noticed I forgot a period. What I meant to say is: I noticed you said you preferred to use whole wheat flour for the pumpkin bread, but wrote down all-purpose flour in the recipe. I was wondering if you used all whole-wheat flour or half whole wheat and half all-purpose? Thanks.

  3. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on October 29 2012 at 11:34 am:

    Katie: Thanks for noticing that. I’ve fixed it now. You can use all AP flour, all WW flour, or a combination of the two. I typically use all WW flour.

  4. Kate says on October 30 2012 at 6:42 am:

    I have that same sense each Fall, a panic that borders on excitement with a bit of anxiety mixed in; how prepared are we for cold? For winter and long, dark nights? There are aspects of Winter that I truly love- the slower pace, the cozy bundling in to sweaters, my beloved scarf collection, a fire twinkling at night, heavy blankets and the peace of a thick snowfall. I do love the hum of an oven, that burnt pumpkin smell. One can never have too many recipes for perfect tea bread, either.

  5. Jen Kotila says on November 02 2012 at 6:22 am:

    Yummy! I am going to have to put this one on my list for this weekend. It would go great with my favorite pumpkin spiced latte this season :)

    And I just have to mention, your sister did a phenom job at CC last night. You coach her well! But the picture was priceless and the story, even better. Oh Ali, you never cease to amaze!

  6. Brynn says on November 03 2012 at 7:37 am:

    This looks delicious; just replenished my pumpkin/flour/sugar stockpiles yesterday. I must also be panicking a bit about winter (and work!!) approaching. Your other pumpkin is getting SO BIG (which I can’t say without picturing baby hands stretched high above her head)!! Miss you guys :)

  7. Lindy says on November 03 2012 at 8:43 pm:

    Don’t waste the seeds from your pumpkins, roast them. Scoop the seeds out, and rinse them thoroughly until the membrane has separated and washed off. Blot the seeds and let them dry for fifteen minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the seeds evenly over a lightly oiled tray. Lightly salt, and let them roast for at least ten minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.

  8. H says on November 11 2012 at 10:03 am:

    I love that this is sweetened with maple syrup and grade B at that but why the egg whites?

  9. Thanksgiving « A Dietitian's Recipe Box says on November 21 2012 at 7:25 am:

    [...] Pumpkin walnut bread [...]

  10. kale says on December 14 2012 at 9:57 pm:

    oh the beauty of autumn. (my fav, too)
    i miss it!
    lovely post and lovely recipe.

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