Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recipe Slimdown #2: Pumpkin Bread

One of my fabulous readers sent me a challenge to diet-up her family’s legendary pumpkin bread recipe. Family recipes are like the holy grail of cooking. I’ve tried my best to do Peggy’s family proud!

Q: “I've been making Pumpkin Bread every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past 32 years. My whole family LOVES it. Every year someone asks for the recipe to pass along to a friend. When I typed it up this year I stopped to think about the ingredients and thought, wow, a lot of sugar and fat, oh well, only 2x a year. If you could find a way for me to make it with less sugar and fat I would be forever grateful. Thanks, Peggy.”

A: Well Peggy, bravo to you for noticing the extra fat and calories! Just paying attention to what goes into your favorite recipes is such a huge feat. Sometimes, I go on auto pilot and start dumping ingredients into the bowl without even noticing it. I’m a traditionalist at heart and I say, if you’re only making this once or twice a year for a special occasion, go for the gusto and give your family what they’re really craving. Just send the leftovers home with your guests so you don’t overindulge.

But, I happen to LOVE pumpkin bread. Two times a year just isn’t enough for me! I would like to be able to swap out my tired scrambled eggs in the morning for a fall-flavored breakfast. You inspired me to dig through my recipe books and come up with my own alternative.

My first complaint about pumpkin bread recipes is that they always make more than one loaf. What the heck am I going to do with three loaves of bread? My husband and I would be eating it until the 4th of July! I knew I wanted a recipe that only makes one loaf at a time. This way, I can enjoy it for a week and then move on to something else. By changing up my breakfasts and snacks, I stay interested in the healthy choices and can resist the urge to bust open a bag of candy corn.

I guarantee that Peggy’s original recipe is delicious. How can bread made with rich shortening, tons of white sugar and white flour be anything but amazing? All things “white” generally spell trouble for the blood sugar conscious. I remembered making Ellie Krieger’s pumpkin muffins last year and loving them. I made a few alterations and transformed the muffins into delicious pumpkin bread, minus the “white.”

THIS RECIPE uses half white flour and half whole wheat flour. The whole wheat adds a little fiber to the bread without making it heavy or weighed down. White sugar is completely absent from the recipe. Instead, brown sugar and molasses are used as sweeteners. Both are thought to have a more minimal affect on blood sugar spikes than regular white table sugar.

I couldn’t believe how moist this came out and there really isn’t much fat at all. There’s only 1/4 cup of canola oil in the entire recipe. The rest of the moisture comes from low fat buttermilk. Move over shortening, we don’t need you here!

I use a few different spices that aren’t quite typical in pumpkin bread. On top of the cinnamon and nutmeg, I also added clove and ginger. I really love the result. It was still pumpkin bread, but the taste was teetering on the edge of spice cake. If you prefer a more typical spice mixture, by all means, stick with you favorite.

I was thrilled with how this turned out; a solid alternative to the original fan favorite. I would even be brave enough to serve this right alongside the gobble.

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Pumpkin on Foodista


  1. Hey Trish,

    It's been a while, but I saw your blog on Facebook and wanted to check it out - it's a great idea and there's a big audience for blood-sugar friendly recipes. I love pumpkin bread and will try this recipe out soon. One thing I've been doing in my recipes lately is substituting ground flax seed for other fats in my pumpkin/banana breads. Lots of omega 3s and much more heart friendly than shortening or butter. Hope you and Joe are doing well!

  2. Wow, that looks real appetizing. Can't wait to try this out in my bread oven...