It’s the first weekend of October and fall has finally arrived in the Northeast! The air is crisp, the sun is shining and the famers markets are brimming with butternut squash, apples and pumpkins. Once October rolls around, I automatically start thinking about baking with pumpkins. Muffins, breads, and of course, pies. Last year, Christie shared this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip bread with me. An aunt of one of her former students had passed it along years before. Her family loves it and she makes several loaves every October and November. I tried making it many times last fall but for some reason I couldn’t get the consistency right. It always tasted slightly raw—though still edible—and I could never figure out why. Alas, I wasn’t sure if it was worth another go around.
But when I made zucchini bread last week, and then sliced it up and gave it to the friends and family we saw over the weekend, I thought about how homemade bread makes for a great gift. It’s relatively simple to prepare, doesn’t cost much and is almost always a crowd pleaser. Think about it: how many people do you know who don’t like bread? And if you have a couple of mini loaf pans, the presentation is even better. I put these petite pans on my mental list of kitchen tools that I want and then yesterday, my sister-in-law and I were in Michaels and we came upon mini ceramic loaf pans—in appropriately fall colors—for a dollar each. One dollar! I promptly scooped up one in every color and started thinking about what I would make with them. Given that it’s October, Christie’s pumpkin bread came to mind.
I dug out the recipe this morning and when I saw that it called for vegetable oil I decided that not only would I try to get this bread right, but I’d also put coconut oil to the baking test. To learn more about cooking with coconut oil, click here.
Since coconut oil is sweeter than vegetable, I cut the sugar in the recipe down to 1 1/4 cups rather than 1 1/2 cups. I made the batter and was able to get four mini loaves out of it. I baked the mini loaves for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
I am pleased to report that the loaves emerged from the oven just right! Not too raw, not overcooked and pleasantly sweet. I may even cut the sugar back to just 1 cup next time to see how that affects the taste. In the meantime, I am about to enjoy a slice (or probably two) with my afternoon coffee. Happy Fall!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
1 and 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned plain pumpkin
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. Mix first nine ingredients together and blend well with a spoon.
In a separate bowl, beat sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and 1/3 cup water. Add dry mixture until well blended. Add in chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for 70 minutes.
Note: This recipe makes one regular sized loaf, which Christie has never had a problem baking to perfection. I still don’t know why mine never came out right but since the minis are so cute, I will be sticking with them. However, you should try the full loaf if that strikes your fancy.