Pumpkin Banana Walnut Bread (No Added Sugar) and a trip to See Canyon

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Welcome to Fall, my friends.

In order to celebrate, I decided to dig up an old recipe that was once gifted to me. I tested a few adjustments just to celebrate the beauty of the season (and perhaps use up the rest of my can of pumpkin puree)–it turned out better than I imagined! The muffins have a light, spongy texture that contrasts well to the dense crunch of walnuts and carob. Adding apple cider from the local See Canyon Fruit Ranch offers just the right dash of sweetness, without the need for extra sugar. The recipe can also produce a wonderful loaf, which loves to be warmed and doused in a buttery spread or fruit compote.

Thank you to this lovely orchard, which inspired me to turn the oven back on in the spirit of the season. It’s only a few miles up See Canyon Road in Avila Beach, Calif. I left with apples, cider, almond brittle, and a few beautiful photos.

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In case my recipe doesn’t completely serve your needs, here are some variations so everyone can enjoy it:

Gluten-Free: Substitute wheat flour for all almond flour
Paleo: Use almond butter, grass-fed butter or coconut oil, and all almond flour
Vegan: Use 1 cup applesauce in place of eggs

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 12 muffins)

4 bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup apple cider (unfiltered is best)
4 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ceylon (true) cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips (or chocolate, but carob is naturally sweet)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas. Combine with eggs, nut butter, pumpkin puree, butter, and vanilla.
  3. Add flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Once well combined, add in walnuts and carob/chocolate chips.
  4. Transfer the mix to a well-greased loaf pan or muffin tin.
  5. If you use the loaf pan, bake for 55min-1hr. If using the muffin tin, bake for 30-35 min.
  6. Serve hot or cool and store. This recipe makes a delicious grab-and-go breakfast or snack.
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