Quick breads are usually flavored with fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, cheese, herbs or nuts that give the bread its distinctive flavor. This is also true for muffins. You'll notice that the tops of these breads often crack or split in the middle giving them a rustic character.
Chocolate and pumpkin flavors are combined in this surprising sweet-spiced quick bread. Peet's Coffee and Tea stores serve slices of this bread, along with steaming cups of their famous rich coffee. When I recreated the recipe, I wanted to make sure that the chocolate stood alone in the pumpkin batter. To achieve this effect, I used a skewer to streak melted chocolate through the batter.
This bread is a welcome holiday treat for breakfast, afternoon tea or for dessert with sliced ripe pears. You can make tinier versions of this quick bread in small disposable containers and give them as simple holiday gifts. Just make sure to bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes or until just cooked through.
Since the recipe doubles perfectly, make two loaves. Be sure to bake one loaf for slicing, and stick another in the freezer to for last minute occasions. Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf can also be the cornerstone of an extravagantly rich bread pudding. Follow any chocolate bread pudding recipe; instead of using bread, substitute this spiced pumpkin chocolate bread.
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Quick bread tips
- Replace old (more than 6 months) baking powder and baking soda for proper rising.
- Don't overmix, or the texture will be tough.
- Bake the batter as soon as you have prepared it, as the leavening strength will weaken if it is not exposed to heat promptly.
- Test that the bread is done by sticking a wooden skewer in the center; it should come out clean or just a few moist crumbs attached.
- Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes and then unmold on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Pumpkin chocolate bread
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
11/4 cups sugar