What to do with pumpkin
It’s fall, y’all, and fall begs for warm desserts with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and, of course, pumpkin. Sometimes it’s hard to think of anything to do with pumpkin outside of pie, so here is my favorite pumpkin recipe: pumpkin chocolate chip bread. It may not sound tasty at first but I promise, it is awesome. It makes a great dessert or breakfast, if you don’t mind a sugary breakfast. And if you’ve never tried to make bread and you’ve heard horror stories, you don’t need to be scared of this recipe; it doesn’t call for yeast and there’s nothing tricky about it.
First, as always, preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour three 5×9″ loaf pans.
This recipe makes three loaves with no modifications, which I like because then I can keep some and give some away. I imagine you could cut it down by thirds if you wanted to, to make the yield one or two loaves instead; I also imagine leftover batter would freeze pretty well, but I’ve never done either of those things, so don’t quote me on that.
In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of sugar, a 15-oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling – big difference!), a cup of vegetable oil, 2/3 cup of water, and 4 eggs.
At this point it looks faintly nasty, but just stick with me. Beat the pumpkin and egg mixture until it looks like this:
Then add 3.5 cups of all-purpose flour, a tablespoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and 1.5 teaspoons of salt. Whenever I’m making something that calls for cinnamon, I usually add about twice the amount the recipe requires.
I like to use fresh nutmeg too, which looks like this:
Use a paddle grater until you get just so much; measuring it exactly is too much trouble when you’re doing it this way, and a little more than called for isn’t going to hurt anything.
After you’ve grated some of it, the nutmeg looks like this inside:
And it smells AH-mazing. I just can’t tell you.
Mix all of that well, until it’s smooth. (The batter tastes really great, in case you were wondering.) The original recipe calls for chopped walnuts at this point, but it is my personal opinion that nuts are only in the world to ruin perfectly good desserts, so I leave them out. You can add them if you like, I won’t judge you too harshly. When I make this, my dad requests I make one loaf without chocolate chips, because he thinks he’s a special snowflake. If you want your bread plain, go ahead and pour it out into your prepared loaf pan now.
You can see all the spices in the batter and it smells delicious. Now you can fold in about a cup of chocolate chips – morsels or mini chips, semisweet or milk, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you prefer or whatever happens to be in the pantry.
Pour out into your prepared pans. I like to mix some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle that on top. You want just enough to settle on the batter and bake into the bread; too much and it’ll just fall off when you try to cut it.
Bake those for about an hour, test with a toothpick to make sure they’re done, turn them out of the pans, cut immediately and nom. It’s delicious after it’s cooled, it’s fabulous when it’s hot. Some people like to cover it with butter. The extra cinnamon and sugar on top makes this great crust that adds just a little crunch, and if I let myself I could pick it all off before I even cut a piece.
Plain “punkin” bread: