Pumpkin Brownie Bread
It is officially fall. The air is turning cool. I am busting out the sweaters. It is officially decorative gourd season. For many, this also means the return of all things pumpkin spice. Do not get me wrong, I think that pumpkin desserts are delicious, but I think that pumpkin spice lattes, oatmeal, cookies, etc. are taking it a little too far.
Instead of making the usual pumpkin bread, I wanted to make something a bit different and, of course, add chocolate to it. I am brownie obsessed. I cannot say no to a brownie. So why not combine pumpkin and brownie in one delicious treat? Done deal.
Don’t reach for the pumpkin pie filling. Always go for organic pumpkin puree. You can make your own pumpkin puree (I have done it), but the store-bought stuff tastes just as good, especially if you go for the organic stuff.
Pumpkin in a chocolate dessert is actually a great way to add moisture without adding extra fat. It is an added moisture component especially if the recipe calls for cocoa powder (as this one does) because cocoa powder sucks up more moisture than most flours. So while you may not taste the pumpkin, you will be tasting all the soft, chewy, richness it adds to the center of this bread.
If there is one thing that I always have on hand, it is chocolate, Currently I have 10 bars of chocolate in my fridge, varying in flavor, brand and darkness. I eat it every day and don’t feel bad about it one bit.
When it comes to baking chocolate, I always use a chocolate that I would not have a problem eating. So don’t get that “baking chocolate;” get the dark chocolate that you want to eat. I use a chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content that is dairy-free (hello Taza Chocolate). There will be cane sugar in the chocolate, but not enough to add too much sweetness to the resulting bread.
If you feel like you want something a little sweeter, go with a semisweet chocolate, which has about 50% cocoa content, but then use slightly less coconut sugar. If you want an even darker brownie bread, use unsweetened Dagoba organic chocolate.
Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
There is one cocoa powder that my grandma bought, my mom bought and now I consistently buy: Droste dutch-process cocoa powder. I remember the box from when I was about 5 years old.
What is dutch-process cocoa? Cacao is naturally acidic and slightly fruity. When you buy regular cocoa powder (hello Hershey’s), you are buying non-dutch-process cocoa powder, The natural acidity of the cacao is maintained. In dutch-process cocoa powder, the natural acidic is neutralized by adding alkali to it. This gives dutch-process cocoa powder a smoother flavor and darker color.
Personally, I think that dutch-process cocoa is the superior one to bake with, even though it has a milder chocolate flavor. When dutch-process cocoa is used in combination with melted chocolate, you really et a wallop of dark chocolate flavor, without the acerbic bitterness that can come with dark chocolate.
Can you use that non-dutch-process cocoa? Sure, but it might not taste the same.
Tip: Before you start mixing everything together, get all your ingredients measured out and your flax eggs mixed together. I always find it easier to measure and mix together the dry ingredients first before starting anything else.
If you are not vegan, you can use regular eggs in place of the flax eggs.
1 cup/175g organic pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/3 cup/70g olive oil
3/4 cup/115g coconut sugar
57g/2oz dark chocolate
1tbsp olive oil
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp warm water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp warm water
1 1/4 cups/175g Gluten-free measure-for-measure flour
1/4 cup/30g dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
60g (about 2tbsp) pumpkin seed butter (or almond butter)
65g (about 1/2 cup) chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350F and liberally grease a standard loaf pan.
In a small bowl, combine the 57g dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Melt in the microwave or over double boiler. Once melted, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, olive oil, coconut sugar and the melted chocolate mixture. Whisk them together until smooth and fully mixed. Add the flax eggs and 2 tablespoons of water and mix until the water is fully incorporated.
With a spatula, fold the dry ingredient into the wet ingredients. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, using the spatula to disperse it evenly into the corners and smooth out the top.
Bake for 40 minutes. While the bread is cooling, melt together the 65 grams of dark chocolate and pumpkin seed butter (or almond butter). Drizzle over the top of the bread before serving. Serve it for dessert, serve it for brunch. Do whatever feels right.