Healthier Pumpkin Bread

You can tell fall is here. Not only are temperatures dropping and leaves changing to beautiful reds, yellow and golds, but pumpkin and spices are taking over the world of baking and coffee making.  Pumpkin bread is one of my all time favorites; unfortunately, the average recipe is loaded with fat, sugar, and processed white flour. I've tweaked a basic recipe to add some whole grain flour, reduced the oil and sugar, and added some naturally sweet applesauce. Feel free to reduce the sugar a bit more if you'd like to, though keep in mind that the texture and tenderness will be compromised somewhat. Using whole wheat pastry flour gives a nuttier flavor and brings in whole grains without reducing the lightness or tenderness of the loaf. You may use all whole wheat pastry flour or substitute regular whole wheat flour, though this will create a heavier, though still yummy bread.

Healthier Pumpkin Bread
 (Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins)

       1.  In a large bowl, whisk together until well mixed:
               1 ½ cup sugar (or ¾ cup Splenda & ¾ c sugar)
               1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
               2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
               2 tsp. baking soda
               2 tsp. baking powder
               1 tsp. salt
               2 tsp. cinnamon
               1 tsp. nutmeg
               1/2 tsp. allspice or 1/4 tsp. cloves
 2.  In a separate bowl, blend together:
               1 cup unsweetened applesauce
               1/4 cup canola oil
               4 eggs
               1-15 oz. can pumpkin
3.   Add liquids to dry ingredients, and mix with a whisk until just blended, being careful not to over stir     (it will get tougher the more you mix it.)
4.   Pour into 2 loaf pans (9" X 5"), or 24 muffin tins that have been coated with cooking spray.
5.   Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes for the bread, or 15-20 minutes for the muffins. Test for doneness by inserting a dry spaghetti noodle into the middle of the loaf, making sure it comes out clean.
6.   Let rest five minutes in the pan, then turn out to cool on a rack.

Nutrition data:1 slice (55 g.)= 1/16th of a loaf, 112(94) calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 (11) g carbohydrate, 195 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.  2 Units.