When my oldest went off to college a few years ago, I went care package crazy. I was not only sending the standard cookies and brownies, I was creating themed boxes for holidays and looking for any excuse to send off a package. It was fun for both of us for a while, but the day came when she timidly asked me to slow down the pace. She already had all the nail polish, Halloween face paint, Valentine confetti and bags of mini candy she needed. And the packaging was starting to pile up in the dorm room.
I had pretty much forgotten about care packages altogether when my youngest, just a few weeks into the college year, put in a request for some of my chocolate chip pumpkin bread. This is a wonderful recipe that's been a family fall staple forever. It's fool proof, and really really delicious. It's one of those recipes that you'll get asked for again and again.
Normally I used canned pumpkin for this, but because I'm in New England, and they had small pumpkins at the farmer's market, I decided to do it all from scratch.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
1 cup pumpkin puree*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice (I was out of allspice so I substituted ginger)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in the nuts and chips. If you're like me and think when it comes to chocolate, more is better, don't make the mistake of adding more than 1 cup of chips. Too much chocolate overwhelms the pumpkin and upsets the perfect balance of flavors.
Mix the dry into the wet until JUST combined.
Spoon into the bundt pan and even out slightly, if necessary.
* If you want to make fresh pumpkin puree, take a small eating pumpkin and cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and set face down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 until it's tender when pierced.
Scoop out the pulp and puree in a blender or processor till smooth.
Having gone through all this, I can tell you that it wasn't worth it. There was no difference in taste. And I have read that canned pumpkin is actually higher in nutrients than fresh. Go figure.