Fall Baking, Part II: Pumpkin Walnut, Chocolate Bread

Pumpkin bread, like banana bread, is one of the simplest and least fussy recipes I know. You basically ‘dump’ and mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, place the loaf pan in the oven, and an hour or so later, you’re treated to a delicious smelling kitchen and a rich and spicy piece of heaven. However, when you’re in Jordan (and let’s not forget there’s always a snag or else this blog wouldn’t exist) finding canned pumpkin puree (even during the Thanksgiving season!) is near to impossible.
[Note: I’m sure some random person will comment that they’ve found it at such and such a place, but I’m telling you, I’ve now been to THREE large grocery stores in the area and cannot find it ANYWHERE!]
Lucky for me though (and Raj), I planned ahead in the event something like this were to occur–I packed (way back in April) one 28 ounce can of leftover pumpkin puree. Knowing now that I cannot find canned pumpkin anywhere else, pumpkin pie is off the Thanksgiving menu this year. I need to save the remaining leftover from the can for the next (and sadly) last pumpkin loaf we will eat this fall.
[This recipe is modified from The Art and Soul of Baking, by Cindy Mushet]
Makes 1 loaf
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in the center. Lightly coat a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan with Pam or other oil spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, canola oil, and vanilla extract and blend well.

2. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.

3. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.