With the start of the fall season, the time comes to revisit one of the best snacks possibly ever created: pumpkin bread. A perfect blend of spices and sweetness packed into a deliciously moist, dense bread becomes the ideal food on a crisp autumn afternoon, or really any time. For me, the main factors in picking the best pumpkin bread are flavor, texture, and accessibility.
5. Store Bought Pumpkin Bread
To be honest, I haven’t purchased pumpkin bread from a grocery store like Safeway or Nob Hill in a while. However, they tend to be too dry and crumbly, probably from sitting out in the store all day. Also, they don’t have enough flavor, and taste the same as the other sweet bread options offered, like banana bread. In general, I will gladly eat any pumpkin bread given to me, but these are definitely my least favorite.
4. Homemade Pumpkin Bread
Unfortunately, I can’t give my own baking skills any higher ranking than this. Although I’m sure there are some amazing pumpkin bread recipes out there, my personal experiences with curating the perfect slice have not gone super well. The spices are never quite right, and it is difficult to tell when the bread is done baking, which leads to the loaf being either not all the way done, or a little too dry. One could argue that this is my own fault, and that homemade pumpkin bread should not be ranked this low just because I am not good at baking. However, I have decided to not waste my time trying to make better bread from scratch, and instead to enjoy the deliciousness of the other options provided.
3. Starbucks Pumpkin Bread
The top three pumpkin breads are incredibly difficult to rank, since they are all arguably the best fall snack out there. The Starbucks pumpkin bread is perfectly dense and moist, filling that frequent need for a hearty snack in the chilly autumn days. The pumpkin seeds on top give an excellent crunch of texture, without adding any unwanted flavors to the already delicious spice mix. The biggest flaw of this bread is that it goes too fast. It truly feels like only seconds after my first bite, the whole slice is gone. Not only that, but the effort to travel to a Starbucks isn’t always worth it for a simple slice of bread.
2. Living Room Coffee Pumpkin Bread
I consider this pumpkin bread to be my underground favorite. Living Room Coffee is a lovely cafe near downtown Campbell, which serves some of the best pastries I have ever tried. Their pumpkin bread rotates with banana bread and carrot cake depending on the season. Although I love all three, the pumpkin has to be my favorite. Served as a mini loaf in a small container, the Living Room pumpkin bread becomes a unique experience to eat. Unlike all the other options on this list, this pumpkin bread comes with a delicious crumble on the top, and is best eaten with a fork out of the container. Almost a whole new snack, Living Room pumpkin bread earns its spot near the top of this list.
1. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
A truly delicious example of Trader Joe’s excellency, the pumpkin bread and muffin mix allows anyone, even a mediocre baker such as myself, to make the stuff of dreams in their own kitchen. Bakers only need to provide eggs, oil, and water to this perfect mix of spices and other ingredients, and it is almost impossible to mess these up. The muffins can be made in around half an hour, perfect for an afternoon snack. For only three dollars, you can make twelve muffins or a loaf of bread, as opposed to one slice from Starbucks for the same price. A scrumptious combination of texture and flavor, and easily accessible, there are honestly no downsides to this mix, and with a few simple steps the best fall treat can be easily created by anyone.