Straight-up Vegan Pumpkin Bread, A Win, and Sappy College Memories

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. Ever ever ever. First, though, before I get to it: running report. 3 miles each on Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 miles today. I have signed up to run the Greenville marathon, which is in late October. I’m planning to loosely follow one of the Hal Higdon running guides; I’ve used his programs before and have found them pretty good. Really, all I do is follow his long-run schedule…..I really do follow it loosely. ūüėČ I run marathons to finish them and try to beat my prior best time, not to place or even come remotely close to placing. I just enjoy having a challenge and something to work towards. I am not looking forward to training in the middle of the brutal SC summer, but that’ll just make me tougher, right? Right?? Moving on…..

I won something!!! I won a pack of the Purefit bars from the fabulous Averi’s blog, over at www.loveveggiesandyoga.com¬†Her blog is not all vegan, but she often provides vegan options, and she has a lot of vegan recipes (particularly in her older posts). Plus, she is a super creative and decadent baker, and I enjoy looking at her creations and drooling over them, even if I don’t intend to make them. I have made some of her recipes, for example, her chocolate-mint bars, which are fab.u.lous. Averie also has fantastic baking tips (notably, the slightly-melted-margarine-for-soft-cookies tip. It works. I swear it does). Her blog is more than worth checking out. Anyways…..I will write about the Purefit bars when I get them and sample them. It’s fun to have a treat to look foward to!

On to the recipe. This is one of the first recipes I ever vegan-ized. I got it from an old college friend. In college, I had a really, really close friend who was the person who converted me from vegetarianism to veganism. We live far apart now but are still so close in terms of our viewpoints in life. We email and call and it’s almost as if we’re back in college, baking vegan treats on a Friday night in our tiny dorm kitchen ‘cuz we were total social losers and didn’t have any other friends to hang out with for more exciting collegiate social plans. Just kidding, we really enjoyed each other’s company and¬†enjoyed staying in, baking, talking, hanging with some other girls in the dorm, and building relationships that have lasted a decade and a half since. We were in an all-girls dorm at a large Ivy – it was like being at a small college within a research university. Best of both worlds.¬† It really was. Most of my really, truly close friends are from college. I have said over and over that my choice of schools was the best decision I have ever made, and that it is the one decision over which I have had not a single regret. I made such tight, deep, personal connections with some of the other women in my dorm; I haven’t had anything like it since. I love my college buddies! Making this bread, emailing with my college buds, and reading their blogs makes me so happy and yet so sad (to be far from them) at the same time.

FINALLY, enough sentimental blah-blah-blah, and on to the stinkin’ recipe! As I was saying, this is a recipe from my college friend Lisa. She had been a vegan for a few years when we met as freshman, so she had already converted some recipes. This is not exactly how we made it back in the day (she used Ener-G egg replacer, for example) but the result is the same. This was a recipe she had gotten from a friend’s mom, so it’s really what, a fourth-hand recipe? I’m not sure. I have cut down on the sugar, believe it or not, but everything else is close to the original, just made vegan.¬† I increased the spices and added vanilla (shocking, I know!) This works as bread, muffins, or a coffee cake. Delish. I call it straight-up pumpkin bread because it is a good, traditional basic non-frouffy recipe without any weird ingredients. It is one of those no-one-will-guess-it’s-vegan recipes, which cannot be said for some other vegan pumpkin breads I’ve tried (you know, the ones that are all dense and gummy and just…..bleh).

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 LARGE bread pans, or 2 medium/regular bread pans and 1 mini loaf pan, or one 9 x 13, or several muffin tins (makes about 48 mini muffins, probably at least 2 dozen regular muffins)

2/3 cup vegan margarine, melted

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup water

about 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, plus water  **

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (less if you are using salted vegan margarine)

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon (heaping!)
1 heaping teaspoon cloves (again, heaping!)

a pinch of nutmeg

a splash of vanilla, optional

1 15-oz can pumpkin (the regular size can, not the really big can)

3 1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

** Put about 1/4 cup ground flaxseed into a one-cup measuring cup. Add warm/hot water so that the cup is almost full of water, but not completely full. Stir with a fork or whisk to combine, and let sit for a few minutes while you get everything else ready. Alternatively, you can use any form of egg replacer for the equivalent of 4 eggs.

Method: Melt margarine. Stir in sugar, pumpkin, spices, vanilla and mix well. Add in the flax/water mixture; stir until well combined. Add in a cup of the flour; stir until well combined. Pour in a little water; stir until well combined (are you sensing a theme here?). Alternate between adding the water and the flour, stirring well after each addition. You may need to use slightly more or less water; you want a thick batter, but not so thick that the flour is not easily incorporated. The 2/3 cup is usually sufficient but every now and then I need to use a teaspoon or so more or less.

After you’ve added the last of the flour/water, add in the baking soda and baking powder and fold them in to incorporate; do not overmix at this point.

Pour into prepared pans. For loaf pans, bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, until dry on top and until a toothpick comes out clean. These loaves take a lot of time to bake, but they’re worth it!

 

 

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