If you love the taste of pumpkin bread and apple bread, here is a delightful recipe that contains both! My husband is not a big fan of pumpkin and won’t touch pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving but he loves this pumpkin apple bread.
Also filled and topped with healthy, crunchy sunflower seeds you will have a hard time stopping at one slice!
Wondering what those little green spots are inside the bread? Sunflower seeds contain cholorophyll, which is also know as chologenic acid, one of their healthy attributes. When they are baked in a recipe with baking powder or soda, they turn green. There is absolutely no difference in taste whatsoever. If the sight of green specks doesn’t appeal to you, simple substitute chopped walnuts in the batter and save the sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top.
The original recipe calls for boiling apple cider to a condensed syrup but that takes a lot of time so I substituted unsweetened apple sauce for the apple cider. I found some organic Gravenstein applesauce at my local grocery store which worked beautifully.
I used my Wilton 4-cavity mini loaf pan but had quite a bit of batter left after filling them, so I used it to make muffins. The mini loaves and muffins are the perfect size for the two of us! They would also make wonderful gifts during the holidays or for breakfast and brunch if you have having friends or family staying with you. They freeze beautifully!
Pumpkin Apple Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Makes 2-3 large loaves (I made 4 mini loaves plus a few muffins)
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or make your own using 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sunflower or other mild vegetable oil
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cups finely chopped, crisp sweet apples such as Gala or Fuji, preferably organic
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds* or chopped walnuts
Notes: If you have more batter than loaf pans, you can use the extra batter to make muffins. Baking instructions below.
*Don’t be alarmed if the sunflower seeds turn green around the edges inside the loaves during baking. This is due to the natural chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds. There will be no difference in taste whatsoever. If the green color doesn’t appeal to you, simply sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top and use chopped walnuts in the batter.
Grease loaf pans with butter and line with parchment or spray with a baking spray that contains flour, such as Bakers Joy.
In a large bowl, combine whole wheat and all-purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir to blend.
In an extra-large mixing bowl, such as the bowl of a stand mixer, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add half of flour mixture and mix, then half of applesauce and mix, repeating with remaining flour mixture and applesauce, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree until combined. Then, fold in apples and sunflower seeds. Fill loaf pans 3/4 full and spread evenly. If making muffins, place muffin liners in muffin pan and fill cups 3/4 full.
Bake loaves in a 350 degrees oven for 55 to 60 minutes for 9 x 5-inch loaves, 45 to 50 minutes for 8 x 4-inch loaves or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2 x 3-inch loaves, or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Bake muffins for 25 minutes.
Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing.
Freezes well. Wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to freeze.