By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Media Services
November 28, 2011
What's a quick bread? By definition it's bread that does not rely upon yeast to rise, but rather uses baking powder or baking soda as the leavening agent. You don't have to let the dough rise or to knead it; just a quick mix of ingredients and pop it in the oven. What you gain in time saved, you give up in light, airy texture. Most quick breads are dense and very moist. Not a bad thing, if you ask me.
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
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