Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pumpkin for Spring

Pumpkin brings to mind autumn, crisp days, colorful leaves and wood smoke. If you love fall as much as I do, sometimes you need to bring a bit of fall into another part of the year. Rainy spring weather has a similar feel in some ways to fall and gray and windy. That's what we are having this weekend, right after a spectacular warm and sunny Friday.

There is something about a rainy spring day that pushes me towards the kitchen with a yen to bake and to make long simmering foods like chili and ragu sauce. The light is different than in mid winter, when it also rains a lot around here, and even with the cloudy skies you can tell that the days are longer, too. Yesterday we started on our bathroom project by purchasing the flooring and by visiting a kitchen and bath showroom to look at solid surface shower enclosure examples.

Once we were home all I wanted to do way play in the kitchen with eggs and flour, spices and chocolate and nuts. The result was a lovely loaf of pumpkin bread, liberally spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and laced with walnuts and chocolate chips. The perfect thing to go with afternoon tea, followed by nice long conversations with Natasha and my Mom.

The nice thing about this recipe, one I found in a cookbook I’ve had for ages called Favorite Brand Name Recipe Cookbook, is that you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry and it goes together quickly…so you, too , can have a nice warm slice, with melty, oozy chocolate and crunchy nuts…in hardly any time at all. Maybe even today. It didn’t start out with any chocolate, but chocolate was just what the day…and the bread…needed. I also subbed a little whole wheat flour, added some cloves, changed the sugar to brown and left out the butter. This is the recipe I ended up with:

Pumpkin Nut Bread…with Chocolate
Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (both flours, soda and powder, spices).

Put the pumpkin, brown sugar, milk and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients and begin to combine. Add the nuts and chocolate chips and mix just until all are well blended.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan five minutes, then turn out of pan and cool on a cooling rack.


  1. Looks delicious. I love the gooey chocolate chips studded in it. mmmmm

  2. You're right, pumpkin always seems to go with fall, but it's so yummy there's no reason not to have it year round. Especially if chocolate is involved!

  3. Send me a slice or two will you? :)

  4. Looks like a good loaf for a cool spring day.
    Hope that the weather will soon be matching the new header picture. ;)