This past summer, I spent much of my time experimenting in the kitchen with my dear friend Melika, whose passion for both food and life exudes happiness on everyone she meets. Although we often cooked together several days a week, it was a tradition to hold Thursday morning breakfasts before we strolled off to work. These, however, were not your ordinary college student’s breakfasts, rather elaborate creations that evoked minutes of silent savoring on our sunny porch.
Frittatas with beet greens, goat cheese and caramelized onions, yogurt with freshly picked strawberries, Greek honey and homemade granola, homemade lemon and raspberry muffins, the list of delicious food goes on and on. At the end of the summer, however, Melika had to move back to NYC for school, thus ending our much-cherished Thursday morning tradition.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure to spend an afternoon in the kitchen with my Thursday morning friend once again. In place of an elaborate breakfast however, we decided to make a fall classic—pumpkin chocolate chip bread.
The recipe is based on the pumpkin bread recipe in my favorite and always-reliable baking book, The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. After two years, I have almost cooked my way through its entirety without a single disappointment; this pumpkin bread is no exception. Extremely moist, with a spicy core of pumpkin, dots of chocolate chips, and a cream cheese streusel, this bread certainly deserves a spot in your list of favorite fall recipes as well.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread with Streusel: (Adapted from The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook) Note: This pumpkin bread freezes quite well, so don’t be turned off by the amount of bread this recipe makes. Plus, I always find that people welcome baked goods with open arms and empty stomachs.
Yield: 2-8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaves and 5 mini loaves or 3-8 x 4 ½ inch loaves _______
Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans _______
Streusel: ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup brown sugar 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon ½ cup pecans (optional) ¼ teaspoon salt 2 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces _______
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup whole wheat flour* 1/3 cup millet flour 1/3 cup barley flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground ginger ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups canned pumpkin purée ¾ cup granulated sugar 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar 4 large eggs ¼ cup vegetable oil 1 2/3 cup buttermilk 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the pans with butter; set aside.
To make the streusel, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nuts and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles a very coarse cornmeal. Refrigerate.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt; set mixture aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the pumpkin purée and both sugars. Mix on medium speed until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time to the bowl. Mix until incorporated, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl after you add each egg. Mix in the oil until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the flour), until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter among the prepared loaf pans and top with the streusel mixture. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean (you can expect some melted chocolate, simply make sure there isn’t any batter). Transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely.
*Feel free to use only all-purpose flour, or 2/3 all-purpose and 1/3 whole wheat flour if you don’t have millet or barley flour in the cupboard.