I decided it was about time to really get a move on with my fall baking.
. . . I also decided that chocolate is always an appropriate flavor for any and every season.
So am I justified in thinking that dressing up a chocolate loaf with pumpkin seeds is a fall-freindly recipe? For today, let’s say it is.
Fall is quite possibly my favorite season. Despite the fact that the days get shorter, the nights get colder, and the summer becomes a distant memory, the fall has a certain charm that I find unmatched by the other three seasons. From the chilly (but not freezing!) Saturday mornings to the smell of freshly-lit fire wood, I love it all. (Okay, except for the fogged-up windshield that I have to contend with every day on my drive to school. Not fun.)
For me, this fall has been a bit different than usual. It’s been fast-paced, hectic, chaotic. A whirlwind, for sure. Apparently college applications and the final push of senior year can make time – and the season – seem that way.
But when I get the chance to bake, time seems to be suspended (in a good way, of course). I can be in the moment, savoring the season.
As mentioned earlier, this recipe contains pepitas, better known as pumpkin seeds. After being toasted, the seeds take on a nutty-quality which pairs nicely with (what else) chocolate. Now factor in the “salt” component of “salted pepitas.” Just like that, you have a simple, salted and nutty topping for your plain ol’ chocolate loaf. And I can’t forget to mention the lovely contrast of sweet and savory. It’s quite lovely, indeed!
Before I share the recipe with you, let me pass on one (potentially-odd seeming) suggestion. Take a slice fo this chocolate loaf – a fairly thick slice – and douse it with a few tablespoons of hot coffee, allowing the coffee to be absorbed. You’ll end up with an incredibly moist, intensely-flavored slice. The loaf is especially great served this way for breakfast. Chocolate, coffee, and carbs all in one forkful! (Oh, and some pepitas, too!)
Chocolate Loaf with Salted Pepitas
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- ¾ C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ¾ C. Hot Water
-1 ½ C. All Purpose Flour
-1 ¼ C. Granulated Sugar
-1 ½ tsp, Baking Soda
- ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
-3 Large Eggs*
- ½ C. Sour Cream*
-1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
-2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- ½ – ¾ C. Salted Pepitas (Recipe Follows)
*Must be at room temperature; otherwise, ingredients will not mix properly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 10-by-5 1/2-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a heat- safe bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat together sour cream, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Once combined, carefully add in cocoa mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!
Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan and sprinkle top with salted pepitas. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 – 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on cooling rack.
-1 ¼ C. Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
-1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
-1 tsp. Kosher Salt
In a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt butter (alternatively, you can brown it, to add more depth of flavor). Add pepitas and salt; toss to coat. Toast pepitas until just starting to brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently as they burn easily.