The weather was pretty gloomy here in Berkeley last week. We’ve gotten a break from the rain for a bit although there is forecast for more to come this weekend.
What is it about cold damp weather that makes me want to put my cozy socks on, get into the kitchen and bake something that smells delicious?
We’ve also been battling colds this month so our trips to the market have been less frequent. I’ve been making due with what we have on hand at home in our pantry and freezer stash. Luckily, when the craving struck me, I found a jar of pumpkin puree leftover from Thanksgiving. It was the perfect find to make pumpkin bread.
I love this loaf because olive oil makes it super moist while keeping your heart healthy. Use a neutral olive oil or avocado oil works well here too.
You can use canned pumpkin so that you can enjoy it anytime of year or roast your own and freeze a batch to use later as I did here. We are still finding squash at the markets in Berkeley although soon they will be gone.
If you use fresh pumpkin, I like to roast and puree Red kuri squash because it has a sweet flesh and less water content than most varieties, making it ideal for baking.
Best of all, this loaf is not too sweet. The chocolate chunks are dairy-free and the added health benefits from a less sugary milk chocolate make this a nice mid-afternoon treat to be enjoyed with coffee or tea. We even ate it for breakfast the next day with some plain yogurt drizzled on top. No guilt or apologies necessary. Enjoy sweet friends❤️
Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Loaf
Free from; tree nuts, peanuts, soy, sesame and dairy free option (*see below)
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 cup whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned, *See Notes
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 cup brown or coconut sugar, *See Notes
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons plain, full fat yogurt (or coconut yogurt for dairy-free option*)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup mega chocolate chunks ( I use Enjoy Life Foods brand) plus 2- 3 tablespoons extra for top. *See Notes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment.
In a small bowl, combine sugars. Using a microplane, zest orange into sugars and mix with your hands, to release its oils. Set mixture aside.
Use a stand mixer or electric beaters on low speed or you can use a whisk; mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt.
Add in pumpkin and sugar/zest mixture together. Add in oil, vanilla, yogurt and eggs. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix. Gently mix in chocolate chunks.
Pour batter into pan. Add extra chunks on top of loaf, pressing down lightly. Smooth and tap once to make sure batter is even.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until top of loaf is nicely browned and/or a wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer pumpkin bread to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
Keeps well for 1-2 days. Leftovers also freeze well, for up to three months. Serve for a snack with tea/coffee or breakfast.
- If using roasted pumpkin, I recommend Red Kuri squash (see picture above) because it has a low water content and sweet flavor, making it ideal for baking.
- If using coconut sugar, I highly recommend grinding sugar in a spice grinder first. Coconut sugar granules are larger; grinding them helps to ensure a consistent baking time. It also helps with the loaf’s texture.
- If you do not have chocolate chunks, use chocolate chips.
- To bake as muffins: Omit yogurt and add 1/4 cup buttermilk ( or use 1/4 cup yogurt). Add 1 extra tablespoon of cane sugar ( 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) . Omit or keep chocolate chunks. Batter will be thick. Bake for 18-20 minutes in muffin tin. Makes 12 muffins.