We finished Baked Occasions two Sundays ago, and have moved on to what might be my favorite cookbook by Matt & Renato: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I’ve made a lot of the recipes from this cookbook, but never this weekend’s assignment: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.
In my humble opinion, one of the best things about Fall is pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I can’t stand pumpkin spice lattes, and I don’t really like pumpkin cookies because they’re weirdly squishy, but those caveats aside, I am one of those annoying people who is all about pumpkin as soon as the first hint of fall arrives. Since it’s almost October but close to 80 degrees outside this weekend, I guess it’s a good thing I feel that way about pumpkin.
In college, our dining hall would have pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the mornings, and that bread was one of the few things the catering service did well, so I ate a fair amount of it. I didn’t start making it myself until my first year as a postdoc, probably because I assumed it would be dangerous to have a whole loaf of it around the house. I fell hard for the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread from Allrecipes and never really considered trying a different recipe for pumpkin bread until this Baked Sunday Mornings challenge came along. This hesitancy was in part because Caleb liked the downeast pumpkin bread and he isn’t a pumpkin lover, so I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm for pumpkin chocolate chip bread in any way.
Happily, our scheduled posting weekend for BAKED’s pumpkin chocolate chip bread (or loaf, as they call it) coincided with one of Caleb’s visits here and with us visiting some friends who are also big fans of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, making it a perfect weekend to test drive the “new” recipe.
As with all quick breads, this recipe from Baked is incredibly easy to throw together. You whisk the oil and pumpkin puree together, then whisk in a not-so-modest amount of granulated sugar, 4 eggs, vanilla, room temperature water (this is a first for me in a quick bread), then finally the chocolate chips. After the chocolate chips are well-folded into the batter and hang suspended in the wet ingredients, you gently fold in the flour. I had some misgivings about folding in the flour – it seemed like there were an awful lot of pockets of dry ingredients in my batter. I tried to gently deal with them as best I could, then poured the batter about 2/3 of the way up the sides of 2 loaf pans. My bread took about 1 hour and 22 minutes and I left it (accidentally) in the pans all night to cool.
I experienced some significant anxiety over whether my loaves would come out of the pans in one piece after that overnight cooling period and with just the canola oil spray I’d used. Luckily for me, I didn’t lose more than a few chocolate chips to the bottom of each loaf pan. There were a few pockets of dry ingredients that never fully merged with the wet ingredients, which wasn’t ideal, but they were few and easy to pick out at least.
The pumpkin chocolate chip bread from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking was a huge hit, with all four adults (Caleb included) and both kids (although the 3-year-old preferred the chocolate chips and the 6-year-old preferred the pumpkin bread, which worked out pretty well actually). The bread itself was really moist and flavorful (but importantly, not underbaked nor burned anywhere), with a soft, pillowy texture. I thought it could tolerate a tiny bit more spice, but I purposefully went a little easy on the cinnamon since I know Caleb isn’t a big fan, so that was to be expected. The chocolate chips were well-distributed throughout the loaf and the crust had the perfect sugary crackle top you want from a quick bread. If you’re looking for a great pumpkin chocolate chip bread, this is the recipe you should use. It generates two sizeable loaves, great for giving one away and keeping one for yourself, or you could always bake the batter into mini loaves or cupcakes.