Sunday, October 9, 2011

The First of the Fall Baking with Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf and Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash and potatoes
Fall is finally here. I would say that Fall is definitely my favorite season, if anything for the baking alone. There are so many wonderful things to bake in the Fall: pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies, spice cake with cream cheese frosting... Oh yes, Fall is all about the spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom...these are the things that really excite me about the Fall. Besides, it sure makes my apartment smell nice.

I have decided that every weekend from now until Thanksgiving, I shall bake something with pumpkin. My first recipe was for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip loaves. Yes, loaves multiple, as in two loaves, because that is what the recipe produced. And I'm glad I made the full recipe. Seriously, these loaves were so delicious, so full of pumpkin and spice, that I really had a hard time not going overboard eating them...

As if baking pumpkin loaves were not enough, I also decided to make some butternut squash soup. Technically, it was intended to be a pumpkin soup, but I could not find any pumpkins for soup-making, so I went with butternut squash. I found the recipe for the soup in a French cookbook of mine, and the recipe said that it was both cheap and easy. This soup was so easy, it was ridiculous. And so tasty, even though it was so simple. A total winner, and likely to be a staple for me from now on.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaves
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 lrg eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 12-oz bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9x5-inch loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and oil until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the sugar and then whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Stir in 2/3 cup room temperature water. Stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and do not overmix.

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Make sure to rotate the pans half way through the baking time.

Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the wire racks to cool completely (or as long as you can stand before tasting them).

Warm and tasty!
Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Francoise Bernard's Les Recettes Illustrees

1 kg butternut squash
2 small potatoes
1 L whole milk
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the butternut squash and potatoes into small cubes and put them in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the tablespoon of butter and a cup of water, cover, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until the squash and potatoes are softened.

In a food processor, puree the squash and potatoes, then add the mixture back to the pot. Add the milk, salt and pepper and bring to a soft boil for about 20 minutes.


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