BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO

In my spare time, I like to read through food blogs and seek out new and exciting ways to feed my family. I can’t remember when or how I stumbled upon Half Baked Harvest, but it was love at first site. This may, sound extremely cheesy, but listen, her recipes are delicious yet manageable and her images are stunning! Not to mention, she’s a local girl living in Summit County. I had been scouring the web for some good old fashioned comfort food, for these shorter days and cooler temps. I’m not a crazy pumpkin spice everything person, but this bread had me at “salted maple butter” and that’s that. So if you’re looking for something to make your entire house smell like Fall on a Sunday afternoon, try out this recipe. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, I urge you to visit her food blog, because you are sure to find something to break you from your usual rotation. You can find her recipes at www.halfbakedharvest.com and for those of you who like sticking to old fashioned cook books, she has one coming out October 29th that features more than 125 recipes for instant, overnight, meal-prepped and easy comfort foods. Basically everything you busy people need! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this bread as much as our family. Mangia!

Ingredients

3 medium overly ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed, see note)

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

2/3 cup maple syrup

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

Salted Maple Butter

4 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9×5 inch) bread pans.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared bread pans.

3. Place the cream cheese in a gallon size zip-top bag. Snip a small opening off of the corner of the bag. Squeeze out teaspoon size amounts directly into the pumpkin batter, using 4 ounces of cream cheese per bread pan. Gently swirl the cream cheese. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter.

4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until center is just set.

5. Meanwhile, make the maple butter. In a small bowl, combine the butter and maple syrup.

6. Remove the bread and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting . . . or just eat it warm with a smear of maple butter (you should do this!). Enjoy!

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