Autumn may have quietly crept into our San Diego world as we slept a few nights ago, but looking behind me, I see a stretch of claw marks as I do my best to hold on to my beloved summer. This summer in particular, while it may not be quite as popular with many of the locals, has been a personal favorite of mine with its above average number of hot and somewhat sultry days.
Living near the coastline, many of our local homes (ours included) do not include air conditioning, and as such, temps in the mid-80's with humidity to match have many people moaning about the "extreme" weather. I, however, have been waking with a smile with no jacket required. I love living the day in tank tops and skirts and then leaving for the evening knowing a chill is not going to set in before I arrive home.
That being said, I'm not opposed to a staple of fall and a family favorite - pumpkin. Actually, my pantry is stocked year round with cans of Trader Joe's canned pumpkin, and we often enjoy Pumpkin Pancakes or even Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls as treats in mid-July or over Spring Break.
Luckily, though my stash of pumpkin may be dwindling, we had enough to get us through, and.., shopping at TJ's yesterday brought a most welcome sight:
I'm still not admitting to the arrival of autumn, but I will admit to becoming just a little addicted to our carpool treat last week - the esteemed Pumpkin Banana Bread. Filled with generous flavors of cinnamon and pumpkin, the bread follows a somewhat traditional path. Add in a couple of those over-ripe bananas sitting on your counter, and you have a moist, tender bread that would be perfect as a fall treat if one were considering greeting the season with a welcome. As we are still celebrating summer though, I'm proclaiming this bread the perfect back to
Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread
adapted from King Arthur
Made with whole grain flour along with a touch of ground flax, then combined with vitamin rich pumpkin and banana, this moist bread was a carpool snack for Liv and her girlfriends that I didn't fee guilty serving. Greeted a few days later with, "Do you have more of that awesome bread?" comments, I'd say it is definetly teenage girl approved.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (we use Greek style yogurt)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs honey (optional... we used it in a few loaves and not in others without notice)
2 large eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin *** (see note below)
1 cup mashed banana
2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs ground flax meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Raw sugar for sprinkling
Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside (alternatively, use smaller loaf pans or even muffin tins).
Preheat oven to 350º.
In a medium bowl combine the first 9 ingredients (vegetable oil through vanilla extract). Whisk vigorously to combine.
In a larger bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Again, whisk to combine. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top, then add the pumpkin mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, and with a light hand give the mixture about 10 good stirs. If the mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water as necessary, alternatively, if it is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour ***(see note below). Continue stirring until the batter is just barely incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and sprinkle with raw sugar as desired - Liv say more is better, and all of the girls commented on how they loved the "crunch" on the top.
Bake the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 size pan for approximately 55 minutes (keep checking, may require up to 70 min), or until a toothpick tested in the center of the loaf comes out clean and the loaf is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and then the pans, and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy alone, or for an even more tempting treat top with a little whipped butter.
***Liv Life Note: We made this bread 3 times. The first attempt was made with a very watery can of pumpkin, and as I followed the recipe exactly, the batter was just slightly thicker than pancake batter... not quite right for a quick loaf and the loaf never baked all the way through before it started burning on the outside. My fault, as there was just way too much liquid and I didn't adjust.
On our next attempt, the can of pumpkin had far less liquid, and the texture came out perfectly.
Hence... the amount of liquid needed will vary based on the how watery your particular cup of pumpkin puree is. Try to adjust accordingly. I prefer a batter that is thicker for quick breads as it tends to give me a bit more rise.
Pans - using different pan sizes will require different baking times. For the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 size loaf pan, we came out at about 1 hour, 3 mini loaf pans required 27-35 min.