Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread

Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread
Dorcas Annette Walker

This year I added a topping of Carmel syrup, cool whip, and chopped pecans on my pumpkin pie and was amazed at the results. I took my pumpkin pie to a church Thanksgiving Sunday dinner. As usual the dessert table was full and so I only took a little sliver of my pie figuring that there would be some left while I sampled several of the other desserts. When I went to pick up my pie it was completely gone! The speed in which my pumpkin pie disappeared, you can be sure that I will be adding this topping to my pumpkin pies from now on. I also took a loaf of my Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread and ended up with barely enough out of two loaves to get a picture. Although Thanksgiving is over this recipe is an ideal gift for the Christmas season. Homemade baked goods are always a hit during gift exchanges. The neat thing about my Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread is the fact that it is so easy to make yet it oozes with the homemade touch.

Nutmeg is a seed from an evergreen tree that grows up to 25 feet producing both nutmeg and mace. The history of nutmeg goes back to the 1st century and was used for headaches, fever, bad breath, boils, broken bones, stomach ailments, and self-abortions. Tucking nutmeg into the left armpit before attending a social event was believed to attract admirers. Nutmeg was also rumored to ward off the plague, danger, or evil so people carried nutmegs everywhere. If you think the spice of nutmeg is expensive today, consider the fact that a few hundred years ago having a small box of nutmeg in your possession would have given you enough money to be financially independent for the rest of your life! During the middle ages the Arabs had the monopoly of the spice trade. In 1951 the Europeans discovered Portugal. Nutmeg trees were native to this area- a virtual goldmine. Portugal contained the growth of nutmeg trees spiking its price. A century later the Dutch gained control and were even more possessive by treating the seeds. Nutmeg trees still spread into other nearby islands due to birds scattering the seeds. The Dutch monopoly ended when the French smuggled nutmeg seeds out of Portugal and started their own nutmeg plantations. Today the state of Connecticut’s nickname is the nutmeg so gotten from legends of some unscrupulous Connecticut traders who would whittle wood to represent nutmeg and sell it as the spice. The term a wooden nutmeg meant fraud. Nutmeg is used in many different desserts such as: pies, puddings, tarts, custards, and cakes. It also enhances the flavor of coffee and is used to flavor dips and cheeses. Soups, curries, eggnog, and spiced wines are not complete without a dash of nutmeg. The oil from nutmeg is used in toothpaste and cough syrups and is known for easing toothache or muscle pain.

My Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread recipe takes only ten minutes to prepare and makes two large loaves. For holiday loafs you can use smaller loaf pans. The Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread has a moist pumpkin texture with a slight nutty flavor and is filled with miniature chocolate pockets throughout the loaf. This dessert is an unforgettable culinary treat.

Pumpkin Chocolate Nut Bread

Beat together in a large bowl:
1 (29 oz) can of pumpkin
3 c sugar
4 eggs
½ c cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 c self-rising flour
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp cloves
Mix thoroughly and then fold in:
2 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans
Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350ยบ for one hour. Turn loaves out of pans onto wire racks, cover, and let cool. Wrap with plastic wrap to store. You can also freeze the extra loaf for later!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@yahoo.com. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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