I somehow ended up with far too many cantaloupes to turn into a fruit salad – I thought this bread would be something different, and it turned out being something spectacular.
As you may already know, I really love zucchini bread – okay, in all honestly I love any type of sweet bread; but the real reason why I love zucchini bread is the decadent moisture that it holds. The grated zucchini adds a lot of extra liquid to the batter that bakes into a dense, silky delicious bread.
I wanted to reproduce this same product with a different ingredient, and I thought cantaloupe would be the perfect candidate. Cantaloupe, when ripe, is full of a floral juicy liquid that is sweet, but not too syrupy – so perfect for baking.
If you’d like to learn all about the health benefits of cantaloupe (you may be really surprised), check out my cantaloupe smoothie post, and don’t forget to try out that recipe too!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup of apple sauce (all natural, no sugar added)
1 1/2 cups of honey
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and puréed (about 1/2 of the melon)
3 cups of all-purpose flour (unbleached)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 cup of butter
1 2/3 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease two loaf pans. I used one large loaf pan and one small loaf pan. Mine were a bit full, so you could easily use two large loaf pans just by filling them about 3/4 to the top.
Purée the cantaloupe in a food processor or blender until there are no longer any visible large chunks of melon.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, apple sauce, honey, vanilla, and cantaloupe.
I used apple sauce instead of vegetable oil and honey instead of granulated sugar. This will make for a very moist and flavorful bread without the high calories and fat content. If this recipe was made with oil and sugar, it would have 260 calories and a whopping 12 grams of fat per serving. When made with my substitutions, it has only 166 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per serving. Amazing, right?
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
Slowly stir together the flour mixture into the cantaloupe mixture, and then pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. Your loaves should be golden brown and firm when shaken.
While the loaves are cooling in the pans, prepare the praline glaze.
This glaze is absolutely optional. It doesn’t utilize the healthiest of ingredients, but it sure is pretty tasty. If you think you can splurge on something far outside of your diet since the bread is already so low-fat and low-cal, then go for it! You won’t regret topping your bread with this stuff. If you do choose to make it, don’t feel too guilty because now your bread will still have only around 270 calories per serving with less than 8 grams of fat.
Melt a stick of butter over medium heat and then combine the brown sugar. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent it from burning. Take the mixture off the heat once you start to see bubbles form and the brown sugar has completely dissolved into the butter.
Next, add the chopped pecans and fold them into the mixture until everything is fully combined.
Spread the glaze over the bread while the glaze and bread are still warm.
This bread is best served when it has cooled for about an hour. This will allow the glaze to set and the bread to become even more flavorful.
You are going to love this stuff – pralines or plain. It’s perfect for breakfast or dessert. Enjoy it just the way it is, or with some fresh cantaloupe. It would also be delicious with a spoonful or yogurt – YUM!