Slightly decadent, yet at the same time wholesome, this pumpkin chocolate chip bread is moist, sweet, and spiced with the iconic flavors of cinnamon and cloves. A thick slice of it tastes delicious with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a cold glass of milk. It’s the perfect afternoon treat or after-school snack. And this recipe makes two loaves, so you can either keep both loaves for yourself, or keep one and give one away and make someone’s day!
This recipe is adapted from one I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Hollyhocks & Radishes, by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson. I added chocolate chips instead of nuts or raisins, because I adore chocolate and like to put it in as many baked things as possible, and pumpkin and chocolate go together well. The pumpkin makes this bread really rich and moist, and the cinnamon and cloves make your house smell so divine while it is baking.
Pumpkins seem to be everywhere at this time of year, from fields to front porches, and on sale at the grocery stores. They are such a visually interesting vegetable, and the pumpkin flavor is mild enough that it can be used in lots of different ways. Pumpkins symbolize plenty and abundance, and their deep orange color is indicative of vitality and joy.
I don’t think it’s an accident that nature gives us so many orange-colored vegetables and fruits during the late fall and winter. (I’m thinking not only of pumpkins, but also sweet potatoes and different varieties of squashes, and then oranges, tangerines, and clementines from warmer climates). At a time when we are getting less light and warmth from the sun, we are given more foods that embody warmth and positive energy. When the sun’s strength is decreasing in our part of the world, we get the gift of brilliant autumn–orange and gold-colored trees, and the orange and deep yellow vegetables.
In the spirit of the gift of orange, I made this pumpkin chocolate chip bread this week, in hopes of infusing myself and my family with the vitality that we may be lacking as we adjust to the afternoons and evenings being so much darker and colder than we have been used to.
As chilly as it is, it is important for me to bundle up and get outside when I can. A couple days ago, my husband and son were going to the park to run the dog and bike a bit. I reluctantly went with them, thinking on the way there that I really should be home making dinner, and it was going to be too cold to enjoy biking anyway….We got there and rode down to the lake. I saw the most beautiful scene there.
The deep orange trees were reflected and shimmering on the water of the lake, the sun was beginning to set, and it looked like the most beautiful impressionist painting, more beautiful than I could have imagined. We biked, stayed warm, and I took lots of photos with my phone, since I didn’t have my camera with me. Dinner was late that night, but it was worth it! We were given the gift of the shimmering orange trees on the water, and the chance to slow down and look at the beauty around us.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup of water
- 2 and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 cup of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 5 x 9 inch loaf pans with a little butter and sprinkle them lightly with flour.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until creamy. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and add them to the butter-sugar mixture. Stir to combine. Add the pumpkin and water, and stir until well blended.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the butter mixture. Stir until just combined and everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from Hollyhocks & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.