Pumpkin Banana Bread with Pumpkin Spice Sugar Crust


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.


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.


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!


Pumpkin Banana Bread with Pumpkin Spice Sugar Crust

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (1 loaf)


    • 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


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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!”


    Well said, kiddo, well said.



    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


    • 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


      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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