Harvest Loaf

Growing up, my mom would make this all throughout the fall—I can remember eating it for breakfast, for a snack, for dessert . . . basically, I ate it all the time. Moist, spicy pumpkin bread with rich, creamy chocolate chips . . . as I think back I can imagine my teeth sinking in, the spongey texture, the warming spices . . . have I drawn you in?

Later on I took a closer look at the recipe and realized how laden with white sugar, white flour, and butter it was. (I had eaten this for breakfast? Yep. No shame. Move forward.)

This new, “healthier harvest loaf” is made with whole wheat flour (home-ground red fife features here in my version, but feel free to use any bagged variety), a bit of almond flour, natural sugars, and avocado oil. While I kept eggs in the recipe, I reduced the number from 4 to 2 as a nod to both bodily and planetary health. The added arrowroot is intended to offset this; if you don’t have arrowroot, feel free to simply omit it and see how things go.

Once these loaves cool enough to slice and eat, I like to slice them up and use the leftover parchment paper from baking to insert little rectangles between each slice. Then I freeze the loaves to keep them fresh for teatimes and snacks in days to come—it also keeps me from eating if for breakfast, snack, and dessert all in one day.

Trust me, it’s that good.

Recipe

Makes 2 loaves (8.5″ x 4.5″ tins)

Harvest Loaf

INGREDIENTS

300 g whole wheat flour, I used home-milled red fife; any whole wheat flour will do

80 g almond flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 T. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

15 oz. pumpkin, freshly baked and mashed or canned (I prefer red kuri squash)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup avocado oil

1/2 cup milk of choice, I used unsweetened soy

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

*Optional add-ins or toppings: dark chocolate chips (inside), chopped pecans or walnuts (on top or inside), cranberries (inside)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Gather all ingredients, and line two loaf tins with parchment paper. (I like to use a bit of coconut oil to grease the short sides, which the paper doesn’t touch.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. (Note: the loaves will bake at 350 F, but this is to account for heat escaping when first putting the loaves in. You want a good burst of heat to get the rising started.)
  3. Measure out all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together until evenly combined.
  4. Measure out the pumpkin into a medium bowl and mix the eggs in.
  5. Measure out the remaining wet ingredients using a wet measuring cup (I just stack up the oil, maple syrup, and milk since they add up to 2 cups, and top it off with the ACV and vanilla). If there is room in your medium bowl, mix this together with your pumpkin mixture (if not, just add both to the large bowl before mixing all together).
  6. Add all wet ingredients into a well made in the dry. Fold all together until flour is moistened (be sure to scape the bottom of the bowl well).
  7. As the dry and wet just come together, sprinkle any chosen add-ins (e.g., chocolate chips, nuts, or fruit) over the top, and fold in to incorporate evenly.
  8. Evenly disperse the mixture into the two loaf tins, smooth out the tops a bit, add any optional toppings (nuts), and then place into the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until done.
  9. Cool on wire rack (in tins) for about 5 – 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely. Be careful when slicing, especially if you added chocolate chips or nuts. The bread is soft, and sometimes the add-ins cause the sides to crumble. One trick (if you used chocolate) is to wipe your bread knife off on a damp dishcloth in between slices.

This is delightful with a cup of tea. I hope you give it a go. Enjoy.

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