Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

Every year, I buy extra cans of pumpkin so that when I want pumpkin muffins in the summer I don't have to search through four grocery stores before I find one that carries it in the off season. Every year, I go all summer without wanting pumpkin muffins. Once the weather turns a little chilly (which happens much later now that I don't live in the arctic-It was 80 here two weeks ago!), I start to crave them. I go to the cabinet and rearrange everything until I find my stash of pumpkin puree. 

Chocolate and pumpkin have been on my mind these past few weeks. I don't think the combination shows up nearly enough. When it does, it's usually chocolate chips thrown into something without much deliberate effort. You may find this hard to believe, but I actually don't have chocolate chips in my baking cabinet (yes, my cabinets are divided that way. Yours aren't?). I don't make a lot of things that require chocolate chips. You'll probably never see a chocolate chip cookie recipe on here because my BFF refuses to share hers and they're the best I've ever had. Why settle? 

So, I made this banana chocolate bread for the first time nearly a year ago now. It stayed with me: It isn't too sweet, it's stunning, and yeah it's a little fussy but did I mention how beautiful it is? I like dramatic things. 

I was trying to think of a way to put chocolate with my pumpkin without making a cake.  As much as I love some cream cheese frosting, things get a little messy if you're me and I didn't want to deal with the extra step since I never start these things until after dinner. Maybe when I have a party to go to I'll get the pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting cake out. That stuff is good. 

Long story short, I added some spices to make it more fall appropriate and swapped pumpkin for banana. It is gorgeous and delicious and I really hope I don't eat it all by myself. 

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bread
Adapted From the Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet/Sur la table

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (7 oz) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
some grated nutmeg
1/4 cup unsifted unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons boiling water plus more if needed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1. Set the oven to 350. Butter a 9x5" loaf pan and line it with parchment paper that hangs over the sides by about 1". 
2. Add the vanilla and buttermilk to the pumpkin puree. 
3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside. Put cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth. You really want to get rid of all the lumps here. Keep stirring. Add some more boiling water if you need to. 
4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer.  You want to do this until the mixture is almost white in color-4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Set the speed to medium and mix in the eggs, one tablespoon at a time. Completely blend between additions. Scrape down the sides about halfway through again. 
5. Put the mixer on its lowest speed. Add a third of the flour mixture and when it is just blended, add half the pumpkin mixture. Repeat with the flour and pumpkin, ending with the dry mix. Scrape down the bowl once in between additions.
6. Put half the batter into a different bowl. Add the cocoa paste-fold it in gently, you don't want to deflate the batter. 
7. Drop alternating spoonfuls of chocolate and plain batter into the pan like the picture I took. 
checkerboard cake

8. Take a knife and do a zig-zag type thing. The book suggests to "marbelize by using a spoon to gently turn the batter over in 3 places down the length of the pan".
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes. The bread should be firm to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. When you can touch it and it feels cool, removve it from the pan, peel off the parchment paper. Cut with a serrated knife. Enjoy. 

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