Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Orange pumpkin chocolate chip bread

I don't have a kitchen pantry. I have a long row of shelves above the counter instead. They're bright red and without doors. Someday we'll paint them grey, but for now they'll do. Since they're open and all of our dry goods—as well as bowls, glasses, and plates—are on display, I keep them organized. I can also keep tabs of the inventory pretty easily. But occasionally something gets pushed to the back, and I forget all about it. This happened a few weeks ago when I was moving things around, and spied a lonely can of pumpkin puree. I had purchased it with the intention of making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last fall. (Someone in our house was addicted to the ones from Whole Foods.) I moved the can to the front of the shelf as a reminder to use it.

A few weeks passed by, and I got an inkling to make banana bread. I walked into the kitchen, looked at the fruit bowl on the counter, and realized we didn't have any bananas. Then I looked up and saw the pumpkin puree.
I quickly remembered a recipe I had bookmarked last November. I tinkered with it a bit, adding almonds instead of hazelnuts, orange juice and zest, as well as a few tablespoons of chocolate chips. I also added an apricot-date puree with a splash of maple syrup in place of the sugar. It tasted subtly of pumpkin, with deep orange and spice notes, and bits of dark chocolate. The cookie lover in the house even approved.
Give the apricot-date puree a try. It's so easy and an excellent replacement for sugar. Last fall in my chef classes, we made a date puree to sweeten granola. I loved the idea and made a note to try it again. I think it provided the perfect sweetness to this quick bread. Note: If substituting the puree for regular ol' sugar, you may need to increase the dry ingredients or decrease the wet ingredients, to get the right consistency for your dough or batter.

Apricot-date puree*
2/3 c dried dates & apricots, pitted
1/2 c warm water

Blend on high until smooth. 
Makes about 1 cup.

Orange pumpkin chocolate chip bread
1/2 c almonds or almond meal
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c coconut oil
1/2 c apricot-date puree*
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp orange zest
2 organic eggs
juice from 1/2 an orange
3 tbsp dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a loaf pan with coconut oil or butter. Line with parchment paper.

Toss almonds in food processor and blend until a fine meal. In a large mixing bowl, add the almond meal, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, soda, powder and spices. Sift or whisk together well. In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients, minus the chocolate. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Pour into the oiled loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove and let cool before serving (unless you're impatient like me, and wanted a warm slice).

Enjoy as an afternoon snack with tea. I think this would make an excellent gift for a friend.


Mary Jolley said...

I'm excited to try this. I'm always looking for yummy healthy baked goods. thanks!

a day with kate said...

wow, this looks incredible! for the apricot-date puree, did you use fresh or dried apricots?

Stephanie said...

This looks great. I too have a can of pumpkin leftover from the holidays. Excited to try this out. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Kate - dried! Thanks for pointing this out :)