Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

As promised, here is one of my favorite fall treats. There's nothing special about this recipe; you may have one just like it. Even still, if you don't have a good pumpkin bread recipe, I suggest you try this one. I think the original recipe called for nuts and raisins instead of chocolate chips, but can anyone honestly get excited about nuts and raisins?

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 pound can of pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs, pumpkin puree, and water. Combine dry ingredients and beat into pumpkin mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, as many as you want.

The recipe suggests baking these in two greased 9x5x3-inch pans, but that takes at least 60 minutes. I'm usually too impatient for that, so I cook mine in mini loaf pans for 20 minutes. Of course, that means you need at least 9 mini loaf pans for this whole recipe, but you could bake in shifts, if you need to.

The best way to eat this bread is after it has cooled and sat wrapped up overnight or all day. It's much more moist that way. My husband likes to heat it slightly at this point and then eat it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Yummy.

Dark Chocolate Fondant

My mom has requested this recipe, so I thought I'd post it. The name of this recipe may be misleading; this is really just a molten chocolate cake. I know I've already posted a molten chocolate cake recipe, but this one is better, trust me.

Again, the quality of your finished product will depend on the quality of the chocolate that you use. It is a very simple recipe, so all of that great flavor and rich chocolate taste come directly from the chocolate. I used the Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips, as mentioned in the previous post, but I also really like using Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate when I have it.

Dark Chocolate Fondant
7 oz. dark chocolate (at least 52%)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour six ramekins. Break up the chocolate and melt with the butter in a double boiler or in a microwave. If you don't have unsalted butter, just use salted butter but omit the salt at the end. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl with a whisk. Add the flour while continuing to beat, then add a pinch of salt and the melted chocolate-butter mix. Blend well.

Pour into the prepared ramekins, put in the oven, and bake for 13-15 minutes. You want the little cakes mostly set with a little bit of jiggling in the middle. You may need to increase your baking time 2-3 minutes, depending on your oven. It also helps to make these ahead of time and then keep them in the refrigerator until you are almost ready to serve them. When the batter is chilled, it helps with the temperature gradient that produces a baked outer cake with the molten center.

Remove from the oven; wait 5 minutes before turning onto plates. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Since I haven't posted in a quite a while, I figured I'd better post something. My baking and experimenting have slowed a little with the new baby and the move, but rest assured, I am still at it.

I just thought I'd tell you about my new favorite bag of chocolate chips. For the longest time, I have been an ardent enjoyer of Guittard's semisweet chocolate chips. (I judge the quality of chocolate chips for my cookies based on my desire to snack on the said chips. I won't touch store brand, and even Nestle and Hershey present no temptation.) There are many nights when I just need a little chocolate after dinner, and Guittard has always satisfied my palate.

Much to my dismay when we moved, I had to start grocery shopping at a store that doesn't carry my beloved Guittard semisweet chocolate chips. Every time I passed the baking aisle, I silently cursed the store for my misfortune, until I discovered Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips. Oh yeah. I haven't been much of a fan of the regular Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips, but one handful of the bittersweet variety, and I was hooked. Especially wonderful is that these chips are a bit bigger than regular chips, so you get more chocolate flavor in each bite of cookie. I still love my Guittard, but these chips have been a wonderful find. Keep in mind, that this is all just the grocery store variety. If you can get Scharffen Berger, by all means, do it!

Bottom line: If you want to make exceptional cookies, you have to use exceptional chocolate chips. It is definitely worth it.

And coming soon is one of my favorite fall desserts: pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, and plenty of them. I'm even more excited to make it this year because I know the bittersweet chocolate chips will make it even better.