When Travis was in graduate school and we were living in South Bend, Indiana, I worked for a brief time at a branch of the public library. The job paid poorly and at the end of the day my hands would feel downright diseased from handling all of those well-used books, but those long days at the sleepy library branch did afford me the opportunity to peruse new cookbooks as they came in. In fact, there were many days when I would spend a good part of my shift doing this, getting lost in the beautiful pictures and new ideas for delicious kitchen adventures before I’d be jolted from my daydream by the “excuse me…” of a library patron. That is how I discovered this pumpkin-chocolate tea bread, which comes from Diane Rosen-Worthington’s book, Taste of the Season. It is a lightly spiced loaf with a moist crumb and a swirl of chocolate both in the middle and on top, perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning and just as satisfying in the afternoon. Since we’ve moved from South Bend, I’ve enjoyed making it at least once or twice each fall. This year I baked it to share with my moms’ group, and it made all of the moms (new, tired, hungry moms) very happy. Happy moms means happy babies. Success.
I have altered the original recipe to fit my taste by making it a little less sweet and adjusting the spices.
Makes one 9×5 loaf. Can be doubled.
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 C sugar (use up to 1 1/4 C if you like)
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C pumpkin (or any winter squash) puree
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
generous 1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp each cloves and nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 oz. of 65-70% dark chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the remaining ingredients, then stir them into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Pour half of the chocolate down the middle and swirl it in with a small offset spatula or a butter knife. Top with the remaining batter and then the remaining chocolate, swirling it into the batter as before. Bake in the center of the oven for about an hour, until a tester comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before running an offset spatula around the edge of the loaf and inverting it out of the pan.