Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

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Although we were spoiled with sunny spring-like weather earlier this month, fall is definitely upon us now with temperatures reaching the 30s this week in Boston! Brrrrrrr!  Out come the fleece jackets, cozy sweaters and boots (I even wanted gloves last night!).  The leaves continue to change colors painting the landscape with beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds.  Halloween approaches and carved pumpkins and gourds begin to dot the sidewalks and windowsills.   And with all of this, comes the delicious and hearty flavors of fall:  apples, pears, butternut squash, brussel sprouts and of course pumpkin!

Pumpkin is definitely a seasonal ingredient and I must admit that I tend to overdose on it a little bit every fall: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin beer, and pumpkin whoopie pies.  There is just something about it that is warming to the heart (and belly).  Last weekend, I decided to bake a pumpkin bread that I could bring in to work for our team to eat after rounds.  This recipe is another twist on my apple cinnamon chip bread recipe with pureed pumpkin substituted for the apples and chocolate chips instead of cinnamon chips.  I also had some leftover streusel topping from making apple crisp so I decided to throw that on top for extra layer of flavor and texture.  The result was a delicious, moist pumpkin and cinnamon flavored bread dotted with little morsels of chocolate, finished with a sweet, buttery crunch.  While the streusel topping is an additional step and is purely optional, it definitely makes this recipe extra special and will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves, may half for one loaf)

1 stick (½  cup)  unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 pinches of ground nutmeg
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more to taste)

Streusel topping (optional, but delicious)- adapated from Barefoot Contessa

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Grease 2 loaf pans.

Prepare the streusel topping if making by pulsing all ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles peas.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, white sugar and brown sugar.  Mix until mixture is smooth.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add pumpkin puree and mix until well-combined.

In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually fold into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pans and top with streusel topping (if using).  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.  Let cool slightly before serving.

 

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Last weekend was my friend Jeremy’s 30th birthday and he invited several friends to his family’s house on the Cape to celebrate the dirty thirty with a weekend of good friends, good food, kayaking and a hike through the sand dunes (I got tricked into this last one).  Obviously this event called for a special dessert.  I turned to Jeremy (a frequent tester of my baking experiments) for requests and he suggested something autumnal…maybe with apples…maybe salty and sweet.  After making the pumpkin whoopie pies with salty caramel frosting the week before, Caramel Apple Cupcakes immediately came to mind!

I looked online for apple cupcake recipes but ultimately ended up modifying my own recipe for apple cinnamon chip bread (my first ever recipe creation!) to make it a little lighter for cupcakes.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pureed apples but in a rush, unsweetened apple sauce could be substituted.  I then paired the apple cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting from the pumpkin whoopie pies (luckily I still had caramel leftover).

It ended up being a perfect fall weekend on the cape with high temperatures in the 70s both days- perfect for kayaking, grilling, and walks on the beach.  After gorging ourselves on good wine, cheese, oysters (I’m now an expert shucker!), seafood, and paella, the caramel apple cupcakes were the perfect autumn dessert to end the birthday extravaganza.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

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