Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread (Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and even VEGAN!)

Pumpkin bread is maybe one of my favorite seasonal foods. In large part, I think this is because I couldn't have it for the first twenty years of my life. I'm allergic to both eggs and tree-nuts, and dessert breads basically don't exist without eggs and are frequently accented with nuts. My mom had tried Ener-G Egg Replacer in baked goods when I was a kid without much success, so for awhile I just gave up. It wasn't until I was in college that I discovered a simple egg-replacement trick I could sub in for eggs in baking mixes that MOSTLY results in perfect dessert breads and cookies (cupcakes can be iffy, and it really doesn't work for brownies).

Which turned me into kind of a baking-mix maven (I say with all the humility I can muster). It's possible that people are just being nice to me, but I swear to the Great Pumpkin, every time I make this bread people lose their shit. I have even made it as holiday gifts for people and gotten excellent feedback. Again--they could just be being nice. But I know I have eaten AN ENTIRE LOAF all by myself, and I'm pretty picky when it comes to desserts.

I'm breaking this into two parts: How to Make Fake Eggs, and then Pumpkin Bread. Check out the first part if you are interested in learning my fake-egg secret, or just skip to the Pumpkin Bread part if you've got your own favorite egg replacer.

Let's get crackin'! Except not really. Fake crackin'.

How to Make Fake Eggs

What you need:

  • Bob's Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal
  • Hot water
  • A blender or food processor

So the original recipe for this (found it online somewhere) called for "warm" water. While I never have done a very good job of controlling for variables, in my experience, I've had better results when I heat the water all the way to "hot." I really believe that's because the hot water and the blending of the flaxseed creates a chemical reaction that must somehow approximate what an egg does when it bakes. I'M NOT A CHEMIST OR A BIOLOGIST, I CANNOT EXPLAIN THIS. It could be ghosts making it work, for all I know. I'm just saying what I do.

The equation for this is 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1.5 ounces hot water = 1 egg. I have found that this is usually not enough liquid to reach the blade in a typical food processor or blender, so I always double it and just throw away what I don't need. If a recipe specifically calls for a "large egg," I do just a touch more--so maybe a heaping tablespoon of flaxseed meal, and 1.75 ounces of water. I have yet to use TOO MUCH fake egg, but have definitely not used enough (you'll know if you have skimped on the fake egg because the bread won't rise).

This is what it should look like as it starts blending, and will get thicker as it goes! But not WAY thicker. Just a little bit thicker.

So, for two large eggs, I use 3.25-ish ounces of hot water and 2 heaping tablespoons of flaxseed meal. Drop the meal in the blender or processor while you're heating the water.

Blend or process on low for at least a minute, maybe more. Again, I have yet to OVERBLEND this stuff. The more you blend it, the more egg-y it ends up looking. You want it to get nice and goopy--if it's splashing and liquid-y, you used too much water or you haven't blended it enough.

When it's done, you want to use it right away. Well, at least I do. Because again, I really think the heat and the blending action creates a chemical reaction that helps make the dough rise. I COULD BE COMPLETELY WRONG. But I try to time this so that when it's done blending, I can drop it right in the mixture and start stirring it in.

OK, so that's how I make fake eggs!! On to the main event...

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread (Egg-Free and Veganized!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flaxseed meal (for 2 fake eggs)
  • 3.25-ish ounces hot water (for 2 fake eggs)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water (room temperature)
  • Vegan cooking spray or Natural Balance spread (for greasing pan)
  • Powdered sugar (for topping)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly grease a standard 9x5 pan with cooking spray or Natural Balance spread. I use a paper towel to dig out some spread, then work it into the grooves of my super fancy Nordic Ware Pumpkin Loaf pan (I TOLD YOU GUYS, I MAKE THIS ALL THE TIME BECAUSE PEOPLE FREAKING LOVE IT, SO YES I HAVE A SPECIAL PUMPKIN-BREAD-MAKING PAN).

3. Pour the cup of water and the 1/2 cup vegetable oil into a medium or large mixing bowl.

4. Make your fake eggs. While they're blending up, get the bread mix out of the box, cut the top off the plastic bag, and get it ready to dump into the bowl but don't dump it in yet.

5. When your fake eggs are finally super goopy, get your whisk ready. Pour the fake eggs into the bowl (they should slowly just glop straight into the bowl in a goopy blob--don't worry about scraping every single bit out, but you do need most of it). Now whisk up the oil, water, and fake eggs.

How it should look right after you dump the fake eggs into the water/oil...

And how it should look when you whisk up all the wet ingredients!

6. Pour the dry bread mix into the bowl. Grab a spatula and start "folding" the dry mix into the wet mix. "Folding" means scraping the spatula against the edge of the bowl and then into the mix, in a sweeping motion. You don't want to MIX, because you don't want to agitate the batter too much. It's gonna be a little clumpy--that's ok. Bread batter is like that. DO NOT try to be efficient with your mixing and use a whisk here!!!!! It will ruin everything. FOLD. With the spatula. Until smooth--approximately 1-2 minutes. You want everything to be uniformly wet, but don't fold too long because you want to get it into the oven as soon as possible.

Drop the dry mix into the bowl with the wet mix...

...begin folding. You see how there's clumps?

Folded! When your batter looks like this, it's done!

7. Spread the batter into the pan, filling the corners and leveling the top with your spatula.

8. Pop in the oven. The box says for 55-60 minutes. I have found, when using fake eggs, things need to go a bit longer, but it's a delicate dance between cooking the middle and burning the top. I checked mine at 60 minutes, and the top was juuuuuust starting to get too browned, and it was juuuuuuuust cooked in the center. You want an inserted toothpick to come out clean. I usually go 60-70 minutes on this bread.

9. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

10. Dust with powdered sugar, and YOU'RE DONE!

If you want to get fancy and you've got time, wait until the bread is 100% completely cooled, then top with a powdered sugar glaze. Or, if you don't care about the vegan thing, I love it best with a cream-cheese frosting. This is a great food item to bring to potlucks, and it makes a great homemade gift--I have made several batches at a time and cooked them in these great paper loaf molds from Sur La Table! And, like I've said, I have gotten great feedback. Happy pumpkin-y autumn, everyone!

I hope that all made sense. If you have any questions on the recipe or about how to make fake eggs, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below! Or you could come join us over on the Taking Fountain Community group page on Facebook! We love questions.