Happy September, friends! This is one of my favorite months of the year. I love that the crisp, cool mornings blend into jacketless afternoons. I love watching the leaves begin to change. I love how clear the sky is after months of hazy humidity. And I really love pumpkin season!
Last year, I held the first ever Wholefully Pumpkin Week, where I brought you seven straight days of great pumpkin recipes (you can see all my pumpkin recipes here). I did it mostly because I was so excited to start cooking with pumpkin that I had too many fun recipe ideas to narrow it down! So I didn’t, and shared them all. I never expect it to be so crazy popular! Combined, those seven recipes have been shared on social media almost 100,000 times. Y’all love your pumpkin!
I almost couldn’t wait to dive into pumpkin week again this year, but on principle, figured I should at least wait until we hit September, and it wasn’t 96º outside anymore before drowning you in pumpkin puree.
But now that we’re here? It’s on. For the next week, you’ll be getting a daily pumpkin recipe—and not to toot my own horn, but…*toot* *toot*. These suckers are delicious! And I’m SO excited because this year, my dear friend (and blogging queen) Melissa of Bless This Mess is joining in on the pumpkin fun. Head over to her blog each day this week to see a pumpkinful recipe!
And what if you aren’t a pumpkin fan? Well, I still love you, but come back next week when I’ve gotten all the pumpkin out of my system, k?
The first recipe in Pumpkin Week 2016 is a food that is dripping with nostalgia for me. There was a little coffee shop in the student union at my university, and it wasn’t very often that I walked through the union, but when I did, I tried to scrape together my pennies and buy myself a chai latte and a slice of the best. pumpkin. bread. ever.
To me, when I take a bite of pumpkin bread, I think of leaves tumbling down on my alma mater’s campus (one of the most beautiful in the nation) while I walk to drawing class in my fake Ugg boots and listen to Modest Mouse on my giant click wheel iPod. My feet were so much more comfortable in 2002.
For me, the perfect pumpkin bread is dense, heavy, moist, sweet, and distinctly pumpkin spiced. It has to taste basically like you took the best banana bread you’ve ever had mixed with the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever had (minus the banana).
Quick breads like this can go one of two directions—they can be sweet-like a dessert (sometimes frosting is even appropriate) or, you can healthify the ingredients and turn a quick bread into something that works for breakfasts, snacks, or desserts. And that’s what I’ve done here. This pumpkin bread uses 100% whole grain flour. It is sweetened using all-natural maple syrup. This isn’t quite the sugar bomb pumpkin bread that I remember from my college days, but it is equally amazing!
This recipe makes for awesome holiday gifts, too (if you’re starting to think about that kind of thing already). I like to bake these up into mini loaves—you can get pans that do 4-8 of them at a time—and then wrap them up in a clear plastic bag and tie a pretty bow on it. Perfect little gift that everyone loves!
You can used either canned or homemade pumpkin puree in this recipe. By using homemade pumpkin puree, you won’t quite get the vibrant orange color you see here. Canned pumpkin puree is actually made using a bright orange squash—actual pumpkin puree is much lighter (almost yellow) in color. It’ll still be delicious, just not festively orange!