Incredibly moist and flavorful pumpkin bread loaded with chocolate chips! Great Harvest Bread Company ain’t got nuttin’ on this bread!
I know we’re only midway through September and it’s not “officially” fall yet, but when it comes to pumpkin, there’s no such thing as “too early.” I don’t care if it’s the 4th of July, I still won’t hesitate to bake myself an entire pumpkin pie to feast on. Pumpkin is not a seasonal thing in my book–it’s acceptable ALLLLL year round, folks. And seeing as today’s recipe is already my second pumpkin installment of the season, you better believe that I’ve got many more pumpkin treats up my sleeve.
Aside from seeing pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING in the stores, one thing I always look forward to each fall is when Great Harvest Bread Company stores begin selling their delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cake bread. I remember when I first discovered it a few years ago, and I couldn’t get over how lusciously moist, sweet, and flavorful it was without tasting overly pumpkiny/squashy. While I was skeptical about the dark chocolate chips at first, I LOVED the texture of the soft chips baked into the bread, and the bitter sweetness of the chocolate was the perfect contrast to the pumpkin.
I’m not usually crazy about quick breads/cake breads, but I HAD to figure out how to make this bread STAT. Luckily it only took me a few attempts to come up with a recipe that tasted as close to Great Harvest’s pumpkin chocolate chip bread as possible.
And this guys, is IT.
Not to sound conceited or anything, but I think my version is actually better than theirs. It has a moister crumb and the spices compliment the pumpkin perfectly. One thing I’ve learned about using canned pumpkin purée is that the brand DOES matter. I’ve tried a few different brands, but I always come back to Libby’s. For some reason, every other brand I’ve tried has that raw, squash-like flavor no matter how much you use. I can even tell when I’ve tried other store’s baked goods whether they use Libby’s or not. There’s a definite flavor difference, and I prefer Libby’s milder, sweeter pumpkin purée over anything else.
Considering the fact that chocolate chips would be added, I didn’t want the batter itself to be too sweet even though this is a CAKE bread. The magic amount seemed to be 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar for that touch of warm maple sweetness. Although it’s hard to pick out, there’s also a few Tablespoons of orange juice for added sweetness.
Instead of stirring all of the chocolate chips into the batter at once, I reserved about 1/4 of them to sprinkle on top just before baking. This step is definitely optional, but it sure makes for a prettier bread. Not to mention, it also looks like it’s bursting with chocolate chips!
As far as fats go, I went with good ol’ vegetable oil. I know butter is more flavorful, but oil just lends a moister crumb, preventing the bread from drying out too quickly. Besides, with all of the spices that are in the bread, you won’t miss the butter. Speaking of spices, I used pumpkin spice (duh) along with some extra cinnamon and nutmeg.
On its own, or with a nice little dab of butter, you’ll no doubt fall into a pumpkin coma by the time you finish a slice of the BEST Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread in the world!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yields: four small loaves or one regular loaf
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons orange juice*
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease four small loaf pans.**
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together until combined; set aside.
In another mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, both sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and continue stirring until just combined. Try not to overmix. Gently fold in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into greased loaf pans, then drop or tap gently on the counter to level out batter. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips evenly over the tops of each pan. Bake in the oven for 30-32 minutes***, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
*If you don’t have orange juice, milk or water would work just fine.
**My mini loaf pans measured 3″x6″.
***If using one large loaf pan, baking time will be about 55-65 minutes.