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Pumpkin Bread with Caramelized Walnut Crunch

This recipe was originally put on homebeccanomics in 2012. Not only were the pics pretty bad but I noticed I’d made it in three small loaf pans. Not very many people have three small loaf pans. I wanted to make it again to get new photos and to check the timing for a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan. What I did NOT need to touch was the recipe itself, because it is by far my favorite pumpkin bread of all time. We (Rich and myself) ate the entire loaf in under 48 hours. I feel shame.

There is plenty of oil in this recipe. There is plenty of sugar. The thing is, pumpkin bread isn’t a weekly thing for us. It’s a maybe twice all fall sort of thing. In our harried lives I’d imagine you’re in a similar boat. The one time I make pumpkin bread I don’t want it to be dry, and I certainly don’t want it to be bland. I want it to be so delicious that I keep finding reasons to walk through the kitchen and “pinch an inch” (mostly from the topping, which is scary good).

Though it certainly tastes indulgent (and actually is), this bread is better than your average pumpkin bread because it has whole wheat flour, walnuts, and ground flax seed. If you didn’t know, walnuts are crazy good for you. You should eat a few every day, as nuts are healthy and walnut is the head nut. Health, shmealth –  I honestly haven’t eaten a more delicious pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Bread with Caramelized Walnut Crunch

Makes 1 9 x 5 inch loaf

1 1/2 c. toasted (unsalted) walnuts, divided

1/2 c. ground flax seed

1 c. white whole wheat flour

3/4 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. buttermilk

Caramelized Walnut Crunch

3 tbsp. butter

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Place 1/2 c. of the walnuts and the flax seed in a food processor and process until finely ground.

3. Next, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Whisk walnut/flax mixture into flour mixture.


4. In another mixing bowl, beat sugars and pumpkin with a whisk until smoothly combined. Add oil and eggs and whisk vigorously until smoothly combined.


5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or rubber spatula. Add 1/2 of buttermilk and stir. Continue (ending with the dry) to add until combined.



6. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan.

7. To make topping, melt butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together over high heat. Once butter is melted, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.

8. Add remaining walnuts to saucepan and remove pan from heat. Stir to coat.

9. Spoon/pour topping evenly across the surface of the batter. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.


10. Let cool about 15 minutes in pan then invert (and set right-side-up) on cooling rack. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.