Chocolate chips and pumpkin just seem like they’d get along. They would totally get matched up on a dating website and become one of those couples who don’t make sense at first and then you’re like, oh yeah. There it is. I’d been thinking about making chocolate chip pumpkin bread until this recipe passed right under my nose.
I’ve developed a reputation at work as the girl who bakes. This is a good thing for the most part as people know what I’m interested in. Therefore, whenever our show gets food-related pitches, I’m generally the recipient. That’s how I came across The Divvies Bakery Cookbook. Divvies Bakery is all about allergen-free baking. This doesn’t particularly interest me as I don’t have any food allergies…that I know of. Oh God, now it feels like my throat’s closing up. Maybe I do. Anyway, thanks to this ridiculous(ly awesome?) challenge, my natural instinct when ever I come across a cookbook is to flip and see if there are any pumpkin recipes. And Divvies did not let me down. I was going to attempt to make the whole recipe milk-, dairy-, and egg-free just to give it a shot…until I poured in the chocolate chips. It didn’t even occur to me not to use regular chocolate chips — of course they have milk in them!
So maybe I’m not the most self-aware allergen-free baker, but I do feel the plight of those who can’t consume certain foods. I have a charming 3-year-old pseudo nephew who is allergic to peanuts. When offered food by someone other than his family, he cheerily exclaims “No peanuts for me, thank you!” Adorable.
But back to these magical squares. Dairy-free or not, they were fantastic! The consistency was like nothing I’ve ever encountered. They definitely skewed on the healthy side with the inherently good-for-you pumpkin puree, applesauce, butter substitute, and general lack of eggs. But they were heavenly — such a pleasing combination of flavors and textures. I have a heavy hand with the chocolate chips, so that upped the taste factor as well. Feeling a little once bitten, twice shy from the brownie disaster incident, I was sure to use a big enough pan and bake them just a tad longer than called for.
The batter was so good that I physically had to restrain myself from licking the bowl. I didn’t do a very good job. I love the orange tint from the pumpkin and the black specks of chocolate chips studded throughout. I was a little concerned when I began to slice the bars because they were spongier than I expected. I had anticipated the denseness of a brownie and feared that the healthy factor in the recipe would make score low on the taste scale. But my fears were for naught. I chose the least photogenic square and took a bite, only to find myself in moist, fudgy, pumpkin-chocolatey delirium. They’re cake-like, but not dry; dense, but airy; sweet from the chocolate, but spicy from the pumpkin. It was like a contradictory party in my mouth. The tops of the bars had baked into that kind of layer that sticks to your fingers, leaving you with edible reminders of the deliciousness they held just moments ago.