Babies have an uncanny ability to make you silly. We've all experienced the strange, instantaneous transformation: you're walking along, the picture of respectability, when you spot bright eyes and baby CHEEKS! It's always the cheeks that really push you over the edge. Suddenly, you're cooing, peekabooing, vroooooming airplane spoons . . . anything for a smile, or best of all, a baby giggle!
My friend Amelia knows all too well what one will do for a baby. Her little Rowan (now 6 months old) wasn't tolerating dairy very well, so mama had to give it up! No tall glasses of milk, no cheesy pizzas, no gooey lasagnas -- and worst of all, hubby was still able to chow down! I'm going to be honest (with apologies to vegans out there): I would not be a fan of a dairy-free lifestyle. I enjoy meat, but I'd be much quicker to give it up than my beloved cheese, butter, and milk! Amelia's a champ, though; with nary a complaint, she's gone almost completely dairy-free for months. She deserves a mommy medal, but perhaps she'd settle for a loaf of vegan pumpkin bread?
I first spotted this beauty on Joy the Baker awhile back, when Joy admitted to sometimes searching for vegan recipes just because she's out of butter or eggs. I love the honesty, not to mention the resourcefulness. A girl after my own heart. Gotta have sweets and gotta avoid the mid-recipe grocery store run.
This pumpkin bread was nice and moist, with a deep caramel-esque flavor from the brown sugar and maple. I added oats for more heartiness. One loaf went to Amelia, and Mike and I kept one for breakfasting. We defiled our loaf by slathering it with butter (more apologies to the vegans!), but it'd be delicious spread with cream cheese (oh wait! sorry vegans!), peanut butter, pumpkin, maple syrup, vegan margarine, mud . . . it's just good! Just spread it with something creamy and suited to your dietary leanings, and consume!
I will say that it wasn't as grand, in my tastebuds' opinions, as regular old pumpkin quick bread. I think I prefer a brighter pumpkin spice flavor to the depth of the maple and brown sugar combo in this recipe. Nevertheless, if you're out of eggs, following a vegan lifestyle, or simply avoiding dairy for a cute little imp of a babe, this is a nice, hearty option. We have the last bit of our loaf sitting in our freezer waiting for Saturday morning breakfast!
Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread
Recipe by: Joy the Baker, slightly adapted by Willow Bird Baking
Yields: 2 loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat flour, or use only all-purpose flour)
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, or just under two cups
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a medium bowl, carefully whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold all of the ingredients together. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well, finding any stray flour bits to mix in. Fold in most of the chopped walnuts and oats, reserving some to sprinkle on top of the batter once in the pan.
Divide the dough between the two greased pans and sprinkle with a few walnut pieces. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.
Serve warm. To freeze, double wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap in foil.