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Pumpkin Banana Bread with Pumpkin Spice Sugar Crust

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As mentioned in my Crunchy Chai Granola Clusters post, I’m still infatuated with pumpkin spice everything. Year after year by the end of summer, I find myself on the edge of my seat waiting not only for cooler weather, cozy sweaters, and vibrant fall foliage, but also for the return of the pumpkin spice craze.

I can tell that the trend is still in full swing with the multitude of processed pumpkin spice products clogging stores’ shelves come October 1st, and although I give into temptation now and then, I prefer to make my own pumpkin spice goodies at home.

Baking a loaf of pumpkin bread is a great way to herald in the pumpkin spice season, as it’s delicious, easy, and can be healthy if made with wholesome ingredients… but when it comes crowned with a crunchy pumpkin spice sugar crust, it becomes the ultimate autumnal treat.

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I decided on a pumpkin banana loaf not only because there were a couple of brown bananas staring me in the face every time I went into our kitchen, (while is approximately 20 times a day), but also because the bananas lend a natural sweetness to the bread; no need for cupfuls of sugar here. But there IS a pumpkin spice-flavored sugar crust atop the bread, which is sweet, spicy, crunchy perfection.

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Whether you’re just now dipping your toes into the pumpkin spice pool or you’ve already dived in headfirst, this quick bread is a fantastic way to celebrate the season!

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Pumpkin Banana Bread with Pumpkin Spice Sugar Crust

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (1 loaf)

    Bread:

    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
    • 2 medium-sized mashed overripe bananas
    • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1/3 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or lightly packed brown sugar
    • 1 large egg, preferably organic
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • +Pumpkin Spice Sugar:
    • 2 Tbsp unrefined granulated sugar, such as evaporated cane juice
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

    Instructions

    For the bread:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or line with unbleached parchment paper.

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, all of the spices, and salt.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, oil, coconut or brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined.

    Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined.

    For the pumpkin spice sugar:

    In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and spices; stir to combine.

    Pour the pumpkin banana bread batter into the prepared baking pan. Evenly sprinkle with the pumpkin spice sugar.

    Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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    Crunchy Chai Spice Granola Clusters

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    Pumpkin spice gets all of the love this time of year, (I succumb to the temptation as well, and will be posting a pumpkin spice recipe soon), but what about other aromatic autumnal spice combinations? Chai spice is basically pumpkin spice with the addition of cardamom and allspice; you’ve still got the sweet cinnamon, spicy ginger, and warm nutmeg & cloves, but the additional two spices give the blend a deeper, more exotic flavor profile.

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    The fragrant spice blend is used here to flavor crunchy granola clusters that are lightly sweetened and insanely addictive. You bake the granola at a low temperature in one giant “sheet”, and then break it up into clusters as big or as small as you’d like.

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    Oat flour helps to hold the clusters together. I love this brand, and keep it on hand for ease of use, but you can absolutely make your own simply by tossing a few big handfuls of old fashioned rolled oats into a high-speed blender or food processor and blending/processing until the oats break down into a fine flour.

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    Clusters, magnificent clusters!

    You could certainly eat this clustery granola with milk for breakfast, but I personally think it’s better suited for snacking on throughout the day.

    I helped myself to a few handfuls while taking photos for the post; even Lily couldn’t keep her hands away. In fact, when I asked her if she liked the granola, she said: “No. I LOVE it!”

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    Well said, kiddo, well said.

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    Crunchy Chai Spice Granola Clusters

    by Lauren Zembron (method of baking adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 50 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup oat flour
    • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/3 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (such as safflower oil)
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

    both old-fashioned rolled oats and oat flour can be found in certified gluten-free versions

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

      In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, oat flour, salt, and all of the spices.

      In a medium bowl, combine vegetable oil, coconut (or brown) sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract; whisk until well-mixed. Pour mixture over oat mixture and stir until dry mixture is fully and evenly moistened.

      Spread mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Press down so the top is even. A pastry roller comes in handy here, as you want the mixture in as thin & even a layer as possible. The mixture should reach the edges of the baking sheet. The mixture will be sticky, so it can be helpful to lightly wet your fingers or a rubber spatula (if you don’t have a pastry roller) with water before pressing down.

      Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until hard through the center and golden brown, rotating baking sheet about every 15 minutes for even baking.

      Let cool completely, then break into pieces.

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