24 October 2007
Pumpkin Chocoate Bread
Yes, some years we do have beautiful fall color in the Pacific Northwest! It is almost always interspersed with the bright woodsy color of evergreens but it does come our way. It is just hard to appreciate it when it is veiled in fog and persistent rain on those monotonous gray days we are famous for.
This week we have had two days of beautiful weather and it is only Wednesday. Yesterday the sunrise was lovely, revealing ribbons of fog in the valleys as the sun climbed above the hills to break into gorgeous sunshine and reflect on bright blue skies. The gold, orange and crimson leaves of autumn popped against the brilliant background of green and blue. I couldn't wait to grab my camera and head outside to enjoy the riot of fall colors and the bright shabbiness of leaves strewn everywhere.
With so much evidence of autumn around me my thoughts turned to, you guessed it, pumpkin! As I brought my camera back into the house I had an overwhelming urge to bake something and all of the recipes I thought of started with "Pumpkin. .."
I found a favorite recipe for pumpkin bread, looked in my pantry, and found one large can of pumpkin. It seemed so wasteful to open it when all my recipe called for was 1 cup, but I didn't want to run to the store. I wanted to bake...now...while this beautiful autumn day still had me in its grip. What to do? I pulled out more recipes and determined to bake until I had used the whole can! The results will be showing up in my blog over the next couple of weeks.
I began with a recipe I have been using for maybe twenty years. It is a special occasion bread that marbles chocolate and pumpkin batters into a dense rich loaf. It makes a big loaf and is quite pretty, especially when drizzled with melted chocolate.
Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bread
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
First melt the chocolate. You can do this by placing the chocolate chips in a small glass bowl and microwaving them for short intervals while stirring carefully in between. The time varies according to the power of your microwave but I put mine in for 30 seconds, then stir and repeat at intervals of 15 seconds. In a minute or two the chocolate is melted. Or melt it any other way that feels comfortable for you. Set it aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, butter and pumpkin with a wire whisk until thoroughly blended. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients just until combined, being careful not to over mix.
Place half of the mixture in a clean bowl and add the melted chocolate. Gently fold it into the batter until blended.
Spoon the pumpkin and the chocolate batters alternately into a greased 9 inch loaf pan. Run a thin knife through the batter, moving the knife back and forth lengthwise at one to two inch intervals to produce the marbled effect.
Bake the loaf at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and let it rest on a wire rack until completely cool.
When the loaf is cool, melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Stir until smooth and place the melted chocolate in a Ziploc sandwich bag. Seal the bag and snip a small piece from the lower corner with scissors. Use it like a pastry bag to squeeze the chocolate onto the top of the loaf in a random pattern. Let the chocolate cool. Enjoy!