Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Applesauce Bread


I realize that making mistakes is not just a part of life but an integral part of learning.  I know at every level of my being that I am not perfect and make mistakes frequently.  We tell our kids (especially Kid #1 because she's at that age) that not only are the mistakes going to happen but that they should motivate you to continue learning so that you don't make the mistake again.  And despite all of this, I absolutely HATE making mistakes.  It doesn't matter when, where, how, why or what happens.  Nothing altars how much I hate it when I make a mistake.
I've made a lot of mistakes lately.  Things like not biking to work when I should have because I thought that the weather might be bad but it wasn't.  Not letting the kids finish a sentence before interrupting them with some sort of answer.  Giving one of the choirboys the wrong music to work on because I didn't read the service music properly.  You get the idea.  Making mistakes when it comes to food has the effect of seriously altering what we'll be eating for the week.  If something doesn't work then either I have to make something else or we just go without.  The last time I tried pumpkin bread it failed miserably.  MISERABLY.  The gooey, puddingy mess was almost unsliceable.  Yuck.  I put the rest of the pumpkin puree in the freezer and took a break.  We needed some distance.  The damn stuff stayed in my psyche though.  Every time I read yet another food blog with some kind of devastatingly gorgeous incarnation of pumpkin bread I would cringe.  Every time I walked into a Starbucks and saw their pumpkin bread I would curse to myself.  The wound was still smarting.
Today was the day.  The day where I be the example to my kids.  The day where I put my money where my mouth is.  The day where I pulled out that pumpkin puree and tried again.  I was careful this time.  So careful.  I didn't watch a Bollywood film or any other film/tv or screen involved device - well, except for the recipe itself.  The kids both read quietly in the other room.  D was out at a rehearsal.  There were no excuses.  This was going to be it.  If this didn't work for me then I was done.  If I used pumpkin puree again it would either be in a sheet cake form or muffin, something smaller, thinner and therefor easier to get a better texture.


When the loaf was done baking (and I left it in for longer than I should have probably), I waited impatiently for the loaf to cool.  A lot of nail biting was happening.  I worked hard to distract myself for the appropriate period of time.  I kept checking it, feeling the pan, sticking the tester in.  Hell, if I thought that putting it in the fridge would've worked, trust me, I would've gone for it.  Thankfully an hour or so was all I had to suffer through.  I can't imagine it being any longer.  I was finally time to place the bread out onto the cutting board and put knife to loaf.  It was agonizing.  I can't remember being so anxious about the outcome of a baked good.  The first slice would seal it, if there was any sign of goo then I would throw my hands up and then wash them of all pumpkin loaves ever again.
Then it happened.  All of a sudden the first slice was done.  Then the second and the third.  There was no goo.  No goop, no squish.  I didn't need to wring it out.  Textural success!  But how did it taste?  I broke off a little piece and it was... GOOD.  I loved it in fact.  I ate the rest of the slice just to make sure that first bite wasn't an aberration.  Nope, it was all good.


And that, my friends, means that I have now achieved pumpkin bread redemption.  I can now hold my head high in a room of food bloggers or home cooks.  I can stare into that case at Starbucks and give that bread the brush off.  Doesn't intimidate me anymore.  My kids are getting their real life lesson about dealing with mistakes while they eat the results of my tenacity.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Applesauce Bread adapted from weeklygreens
makes 1 loaf

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used Red Fife in mine)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 lg eggs OR 1 egg and 2 whipped egg whites (thank you homemade ice-cream)
1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin or winter squash (if it's homemade you might want to drain it a bit through a sieve so that it's as dry as possible)
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened or barely sweetened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) melted butter or coconut oil

Streusel topping:

3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 - 1/2 tbsp quick oats or oat bran
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sugar
dash of salt
2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cubed

Combine all the ingredients.  Using your thumbs pinch together until the mixture forms a crumb.  Should be lumpy and holding together.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour a regular sized loaf pan and set aside.
Combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Set aside.
Optional: Whip the egg whites (if you haven't already) until light, fluffy and nearly stiff (will have at least doubled in size)
Combine the egg(s) - not the egg whites if using - pumpkin puree, apple sauce, brown sugar and melted butter.  Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.  Mix well.  Add in the egg whites and whisk in slowly until combined.  Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.  After 25 minutes of baking add the streusel topping and continue baking for the remaining 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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