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Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Yield:1 loaf
As far as I'm concerned, pumpkin bread is one of the best ways of enjoying pumpkin. However, most loaves of pumpkin bread are sadly lacking in chocolate! Chocolate and pumpkin is actually a very good combination. This recipe for pumpkin bread originally came to me via my mother, but it was for plain pumpkin bread and made two loaves. I scaled it back for the two of us and decided swirl the bread with a chocolate batter as well. It makes a very pretty loaf! If you are not into chocolate (gasp) then simply make it plain and it will still be good.

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 9x5 bread pan.

2. Melt 1 tbsp butter and the chocolate together and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. Mix the sugar, pumpkin, oil and egg together until smooth.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda and salt and stir with a whisk to combine.

5. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring with a spoon just until combined. Separate out half of the batter and mix half with the melted chocolate until combined.

6. Alternately dollop pumpkin and chocolate batter into the bread pan. When the pan is full, take a table knife and starting at one long end, make a tight zigzag through the batter to the other end. If the dough looks marbled enough, stop there, otherwise do it one more time the other direction. Be careful not to over mix, or you you might get more of a muddy look than a marbling.

7. Bake the bread for about an hour, start checking at 50 minutes for doneness. It's done when a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.

8. Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for at least an hour before taking it out of the pan to finish cooling.

Notes:
I often use fresh pumpkin puree to make this bread, but the cooking time varies greatly depending on how wet or dry my homemade pumpkin puree turns out (wetter if steamed, dryer if roasted). The flavor of fresh pumpkin puree is unbeatable.

The original recipe calls for cooking 1 to 1 1/2 hours, but my oven and dark pan usually finish in just under an hour. Your oven and pan may cause different results, so check often towards the end of the baking time.

Variations:

1. Omit the chocolate and butter and make plain pumpkin bread.
2. Add chopped nuts, raisins or chocolate chips to the plain batter if desired.
3. Top the plain bread with a streusel mixture before baking.
4. Cream cheese and cream cheese frosting are also very good with pumpkin bread.