My mission: almond butter.
Why? Because my friend (and former co-worker) Tracy wanted something with almond butter, and she waited patiently week after week as I churned out muffin after muffin, loaf after loaf, all almond butter-free. Tracy has been the most loyal of baking fans and makes me feel like everything that comes out of my kitchen is a gift, so when I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips, I fought my peanut butter-loving instincts and decided to make the swap and grant my chocolate-and-pumpkin-loving friend her much-deserved wish.
I started with Greek yogurt, pumpkin, and eggs, and then added the almond butter. It was gloppy.
Let’s not talk about what the almond butter looks a lot like, okay? (Baby poo.)
There, take a look at how things smoothed out. (It will erase the baby poo image. Sort of.)
In went the cane sugar.
I added brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda, and stirred well.
The recipe just said “two cups flour” so I interpreted that in my traditional way, by using 1 1/3 cups of whole wheat white flour, and 2/3 of a cup of wheat germ.
I folded in the flour carefully, incorporating without over mixing it. This wasn’t going to be a light bread anyway, but I didn’t want it to get any heavier than necessary.
I folded in the chocolate chips, and then scraped the whole thing into a loaf pan.
And then I covered the top in chocolate chips, mostly because Tracy LOVES chocolate, and this was a special treat for her. Bring it on.
The bread was done in 38 minutes. The extra chips got a bit melty around the edges, which only made them more tantalizing. They also burnt my fingers.
I gave it another 10 or 15 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack. Happily, the chips didn’t all come flying off when I inverted the pan.
I know, right? It looked really good.
And then, I got nervous.
This recipe doesn’t have salt in it, and I didn’t think about it until after it was out of the oven, but I realized that peanut butter DOES have salt in it, and the almond butter did not. So I fretted. What if Tracy didn’t like her pumpkin bread? What if it tasted bland? On Chopped, they’re always telling chefs they should have added more salt, maybe this was going to ruin the whole thing. I couldn’t taste-test it either, since it was a loaf and I was delivering the whole thing as a gift. I fretted some more.
The next morning, I delivered the goods. I confessed my salt worries. Tracy did not look concerned. She sure looked happy, though, when she cut into the bread. We tasted it at the same time.
How was it?
Was it okay without the salt?
YES! It was delicious. It was a moist pumpkin loaf, studded with chocolate chips, and given a depth by the almond butter, which provided substance without any sort of overpowering flavor. And Tracy happily scooped up the rest of it and took it to her desk.
See? Right next to the phone and the tape dispenser. Office treat!
My version: Almond Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips (adapted from Crazy for Crust)
1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
2/3 cups toasted wheat germ
1 cup chocolate chips, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees, and spray or grease a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pumpkin, eggs, and almond butter.
Add the sugars, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda. Mix well.
Whisk the flour and wheat germ together, then add to the batter, and mix just until incorporated. Fold in about 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips across the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit in the pan for another 10-15 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.