I’ve got the post-Thanksgiving blues. Now that another one has come and gone, I can safely declare that after 14 years (14!) of going up north, to the ever-welcoming and Christmas-cozy home of Aunt B and Uncle G, it’s easily my favorite holiday (followed closely by the 4th of July, also spent at Aunt B and Uncle G’s–are you noticing a pattern here?). There’s nothing like shacking up with 14 of your favorite relatives (!), two toddlers and a cat (stay with me here) for a long weekend. Rather than get a hotel room, oh no, we divide and conquer with aerobeds. There’s a “girls” room, a “boys” room, an “anybody with a baby” room, and the study with the pull-out sofa. The point is, we fit, and I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want it any other way. Hey, at least this year nobody broke the shower faucet or cried over a game of Sequence.
Along with all this togetherness, there are other traditions: Wednesday night pizza, Thanksgiving lunch snacks (shrimp, cheese and crackers, bean dip), Lions football, any and all manner of traditional Thanksgiving fare, shopping (including my new favorites, this tiny treasure of a book store and this sweet little spice shop) and, last but not least, this always satisfying Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. Oddly, I first encountered it a few years back in my health insurance newsletter of all places. I usually scan for whatever “healthy” recipe is featured. Also usually, I toss it in the bin, with nary a thought. However, for obvious reasons, this one caught my eye– a pumpkin bread recipe with chocolate chips? Now that’s a “health insurance newsletter” recipe I can get behind. It’s become a regular guest of Lake Street, Harbor Springs, along with the rest of us.
This year I decided to take it a step further and add crystallized ginger, inspired by Molly’s banana chocolate chip bread (which was… to… die… for…you should buy her book for that recipe alone) . Probably because I have a blog of my own now, I was trying to “adapt” my sure bet pumpkin bread and “make it my own”. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t stellar either. Let’s call that ingredient optional. Sometimes it’s just best to leave well enough alone.
Adapted from Mayo Clinic Health Solutions
Makes 1 loaf
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (the healthy part!)
3/4 cup white flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg or 2 egg whites
1 Tablespoon Canola oil
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° and place oven rack in the middle position. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, brown sugar, buttermilk, egg and oil for about two minutes or until well-combined. In a medium bowl mix flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add the flour mix to the pumpkin mix and fold together. Do not overmix but make sure there is no dry flour. Add the chocolate chips and the crystallized ginger. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and spread. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on a cooling rack.
Although this bread is best fresh from the oven, it also freezes well. Wrap it in plastic, then foil, to avoid freezer burn.
Although Aunt B serves it for breakfast Thanksgiving weekend, it also works well with afternoon tea or coffee. Heck, if you want to have it for dinner, go right ahead. I won’t be offended.
Well, it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and I’m off to have my banana for dinner. Wish me luck.