One of my favorite things about fall is the pumpkins. I like eating them, decorating with them, even carving them if I can get someone else to pull all the guts out for me, which they usually will so that I will make them roasted pumpkin seeds. My kids are so easy that way.
It seems like, every year, one of the first things I make that signals "hey, it's fall!" is pumpkin bread. Yesterday, I had about half of a can of sweetened condensed milk left over from something else I made (look for that recipe soon - yum!), so I went in search of a recipe where I could use it.
My first go-to website for recipes is AllRecipes. I've been visiting them since they were new and much smaller than they are now. They also published a recipe I submitted in one of their physical, paper cookbooks, so they have a special place in my heart.
I couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted, but I used this recipe from an AllRecipes contributor named Diana as my starting point. Here's what I ended up doing:
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I think I would add another teaspoon next time)
6 ounces chocolate chips
2 - 4 tablespoons raw vanilla sugar (see below)*
Mix together butter, applesauce and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add egg, pumpkin and milk. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and spice all at once and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour into two greased bread loaf pans. Sprinkle raw vanilla sugar over the top of each loaf.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Test frequently near the end for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center. When it no longer comes out completely covered in raw goo, it's done. Don't overcook.
*To make raw vanilla sugar, combine raw sugar with a split vanilla bean in an airtight container. The longer it sits, the better it gets. It's really good in coffee and it makes a nice, crunchy top when you sprinkle it on baked goods.
This obviously makes two loaves and mine were very tall. It might take my teenage boy a whole five minutes to inhale these.