Nut breads are among my favorites to both bake and eat. And why not? They have all the luscious richness of cake, but you can enjoy them without the guilt. Sure, they contain sugar, but there’s also the wonderful goodness of fruit like banana or mango – or a veggie like Pumpkin, in this case. I make it even more healthful by baking with whole wheat pastry flour which is a perfect and better-for-you alternative to all-purpose flour. I have found that adding some molasses to the recipe always makes a great difference to the final taste. The bread, or cake, tastes richer and the sweetness is more rounded.
I also use a mix of spices- ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves- to give the bread a tantalizing complexity that takes it beyond just breakfast food.
I am dedicating this recipe to the lovely Bess– a friend who makes my adopted country seem more like home. Happy eating, Bess!
- 1 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon , ground
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg , ground
- 1/2 tsp ginger , ground
- 1/2 tsp cloves , ground
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans or a mix , lightly toasted then chopped
- 1/3 cup almond milk + 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp powdered flax seeds + 5 tbsp water
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
- Mix together thoroughly all the dry ingredients except the nuts and keep aside.
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together on medium speed the oil, sugar and molasses until well-mixed, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the flax-powder-and-water mixture and applesauce and mix until blended
- Add pumpkin puree and mix until blended
- Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the almond milk-vanilla mixture in 2 parts. Mix on low speed until the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary to ensure all ingredients are well-mixed.
- Add the nuts to the batter and mix with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into an oiled loaf pan. Bake about 50-60 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack about 15 minutes before unmolding. Let the bread cool on a rack (although I can never resist a warm slice!)