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Chocolate Chip Walnut Pumpkin Bread

I played field hockey in college and our head trainer, Wendy, would bring her chocolate chip pumpkin bread for our away game bus trips. Wendy is the best – for all that she did for us (including the bread) but also because she is hilarious.This bread has haunted me for years now, as I’ve tried several recipes and haven’t yet captured that elusive, sumptuous flavor. I would hoard the bread, saving several pieces for later before passing the bag behind me. It was difficult to rationalize the extra calories when I rode the bench as a freshman, but by senior year I swear it was the chocolate pumpkin bread that got me through those tough games!

Maybe I finally got close enough, or maybe my taste-memory as started to fade. Either way, this bread is pretty dang good. Wendy, if you still have the recipe, can you send it to me?

It’s super moist, with just enough spice to let the chocolate shine (too much spice and the flavors seem juxtaposed). Use Ghirardelli bittersweet chips – they’re the best. I was worried the batter was too thin to keep the larger chips in place, but they stayed put just fine. A great bread for the holidays, as the pumpkin seems seasonal but the chocolate makes it special. Double the batch and freeze one  – always nice to have on hand for unexpected company. Or, make to give as gifts – teachers, bus drivers, hair stylist, etc. Speaking of, check out my guest post on my old friend Kris’s website – edible gifts to make from Homebeccanomics!

My Post on Kris’s Blog

 Chocolate Chip Walnut Pumpkin Bread

Makes 1 (9 inch) loaf

1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 c. pureed pumpkin

1/2 c. water

1 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

3/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 in. loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk oil and sugars until evenly combined in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, pumpkin and water and whisk until combined.

3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices to mixing bowl and whisk until almost combined.

4. Add walnuts and chips and, switching to spatula, fold until JUST combined (do NOT overmix this batter!).

5. Scoop or pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until bread is set on top and a toothpick inserted in the top comes out with crumbs but no wet batter.

6. Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

7. Slice cooled bread and serve.

Bread will keep for several days, tightly wrapped at room temperature.