For me, nothing signifies the end of summer as poetically and viscerally as seeing pumpkins in a patch. One look at that field and I start salivating for all of my favorite pumpkin dishes.
I love the earthy simplicity of pumpkin pie. And I feel like a pioneer when I wash the seeds that I have taken out of my carved pumpkin and roast them. No surprise, but that was always my favorite part of carving a pumpkin when I was a kid! Pumpkin and sage also dress up cheese grits this time of year, and I’ve even added pumpkin to chili. But I never thought of adding chocolate to pumpkin until last year.
For some reason, I became obsessed with baking chocolate pumpkin bread and asked everyone I knew if they had a good recipe. I was looking for a dense quick bread with a deep pumpkin flavor that could stand up to lots of add-ins. I love slicing a loaf of bread and seeing the cross-section of fruit and nuts and chocolate.
After I tried a few that were less than stellar, I mentioned my quest to industry friend, who gave me a pumpkin muffin recipe that turned out to be excellent. I adapted it to make pumpkin bread, but you could easily use my version for muffins, as well. It is an oil-based quick bread and I use untoasted walnut oil, but you can use any neutral vegetable oil.
I also reduced the sugar a bit and added light brown sugar and extra spices to give the loaf a deeper flavor that would stand up to the dark chocolate chips and walnuts that I used. When I make this bread closer to Thanksgiving, I add dried cranberries for a seasonal touch, but the bread also is good with the addition of golden raisins and dried cherries.
Finally, I decorate the top of the bread with whole walnut halves or a layer of chopped walnuts. I love the look and the texture of this extra touch. It dresses up a simple loaf of quick bread and gives it a rustic, homemade but professional presentation.
A note about pumpkin — I have tried every type of pumpkin, from roasting my own and making puree to testing all of the brands out there. I will never roast a pumpkin for baking again. The pulp was watery and did not have that concentrated flavor I love. I also suggest staying away from pumpkin pie “filling.” I prefer Libby’s pure pumpkin puree.
Pumpkin Bread with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 2 loaves, 16 slices
3/4 cup granulated sugar?
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
1 1/4 cups walnut oil (not toasted)
3 cups all-purpose flour?
2 teaspoons baking soda?
2 teaspoons baking powder?
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon?
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 cups lightly toasted walnuts, plus more for decorating the top
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat 2 standard loaf pans with baking spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, both sugars, pumpkin and oil until smooth. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and cranberries, if using.
Fill each of the prepared loaf pans about three-quarters full with batter. Drop each on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle additional walnuts over the top of each loaf, using your hand to gently press them into the batter. Place the pans on a baking sheet to make it easier to pull out of the hot oven.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of each loaf comes out clean. Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into thick chunks.
Nutrition information per serving: 590 calories; 320 calories from fat (54 percent of total calories); 36 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 64 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 39 g sugar; 9 g protein; 390 mg sodium.
Winter chill means it’s soup time in Kentucky
I love the winter months because I can try some new and different soups. I use the crock pot for most of all my soups. Here are some recipes you might like to try.
Time for the ‛turkey talk’
It is that time of year again, when Mr. Turkey becomes our house guest for one day.
I can’t believe how this year has flown by. I bet Mr. Turkey wishes he could keep flying.
I thought I would give you some ideas before the Thanksgiving week is here.
Cooking with soda water or pop (as they call it down South)
It amazes me how things can turn out when you add pop (I am a southern gal) to a recipe. I have tried some of these recipes I am sharing with you just to let you know it can be done.
THE MAGIC OF THE CROISSANT
One item in the dairy case that can be used for other dishes besides just a bread item can really surprise one. Hope you try some of these recipes that I have sent you other than just baking a roll for a meal.
Is this corny or what?
For some, the corn crop was very good this year, but others were not so lucky.
I am seeing some corn in the grocery stores, but the ears are not as large as last year.
I have some recipes to pass along that might be useful in preparing corn a different way.
What a way to serve bread ... with a spoon
The spoonbread festival has come and gone in Berea, but what a successful festival it was. The main attractions was, of course, the spoonbread.
How did this come in to our area anyhow?
Some ideas for final garden yields
Fall arrived on Sunday. Where did all our summer go?
I have a small garden that just finally gave up the ghost and did not do too good this year.
It maybe the gardener gave up instead of the garden.
I see that the farmers market both in Berea and Richmond are still selling. I thought about when I was growing up and the last of the garden yields were not wasted.
Beans, a great source of protein, fiber
Health professionals in the nutrition field recommend consuming some form of beans at least three times a week. All beans are a good source of fiber and other nutrition. I will share with you some recipes that I make at least twice a week.
What is a quiche?
I thought I would pass along to you some information about an item that we usually find at receptions or pot luck functions.
The word quiche stands for a savory, open-faced crust with a filling of savory custard with cheese, meat, fish or vegetables.
Although known as a classic French dish, the quiche originated in Germany.
Today, quiche is considered as typically French.
However, custards in pastry were known in English cuisine at least as early as the 14th century.
Quiche Lorraine is perhaps the most popular of the variety.
Here we go again with that zucchini
I hate to write again about a subject I just wrote about, but some friends have sent me some really good recipes for this item, and I know that we have a lot of it coming out of the garden.
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- Winter chill means it’s soup time in Kentucky