Made with a mix of spelt and white flour, this vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Pecan Bread is light, yet packed full of pecans, chocolate, and pumpkin.
It’s finally feeling like Fall here and really, today was the first day of solid rain we’ve seen in what feels like years.
Our rain barrels have been empty for months and we’ve been hauling shower-water to water outside plants including our trees. It’s been so dry.
But, with all this rain, it’s been a beautiful day to stay indoors and bake, photograph and write with the sound of gently falling rain and the Golden-Crowned Sparrow sweetly calling outside the kitchen door.
This vegan pumpkin bread has been a work in progress. I’ve been wanting to try spelt flour for the longest time but have been hesitant simply because I’m unfamiliar with it.
Spelt is an ancient, whole-grain that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It can generally be used in place of whole wheat flour in many recipes and works well as a 50:50 mix with all purpose in muffins and quick-breads, although I bumped it up a bit in this recipe. I’ve learned too, that spelt doesn’t absorb as much water as refined or whole wheat flour, so hydration needs to be reduced when making a substitution with spelt.
With gentle nudges of support from Alexandra of Occasionally Eggs and Aysegul of Foolproof Living, I finally garnered the culinary courage to give spelt a go. Rob was apathetic except for his concern that spelt is not regular (his word).
Undeterred, I forged ahead.
After roasting and pureeing almost 7 lbs of my favorite pumpkin, Winter Luxury from the farm, I decided it was time to start experimenting. After-all, I had been planning this bread for weeks in my mind.
The flavors and textures in this vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Pecan Bread are varied yet come together in a way that immediately takes me to warm sweaters, a crackling fire, cozy blankets and a hot cup of tea. Fall is right here…
The crumb is tender yet sturdy with pops of bittersweet chocolate chunks and pecans to add notes of sweetness and texture. The brown sugar highlights warming pumpkin spice and the winter luxury pumpkin itself. Sweet, but not too sweet.
I finished it with an optional Maple Vanilla Bean Glaze, which ads just a bit more sweet to this demure loaf.
I’m curious to know your secrets about spelt. Have you tried it? How do you like to use it?
Pumpkin Chocolate Pecan Bread
For the Bread:
- 1/2 C Pecans rough chopped, 72g
- 1 C Spelt Flour 178g
- 1/2 C All Purpose Flour 86g
- 1 Tbs Corn Starch
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg ground
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1/4 tsp Ginger ground
- 1/4 tsp Cloves ground
- 1/4 C Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, warm to the touch, 46g
- 3/4 C Dark Brown Sugar 132g
- 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce room temperature, 113g
- 1 1/4 C Pumpkin Puree' room temperature, 318g, not Pumpkin Pie
- 3/4 C Bittersweet Chocolate at least 70%, chopped into small chunks, 125g
For the Bread:
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spay the pan throughly with pan spray. Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
- Place the chopped pecans in the warming oven for about 13 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk the spelt and AP flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil and brown sugar until smooth. Be sure the oil remains in a liquid state. Add the vanilla paste or extract, apple sauce and pumpkin puree. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture in two batches. Stir until the last bit of flour is mixed in. Fold in the pecans and chocolate.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut down the center of the batter. This will help the bread rise evenly.
- Place the pan on the center rack and bake for 55-60 minutes, checking for doneness at around 50 minutes. Insert a tooth pick in center of the loaf to check for doneness. It should come out clean of bread crumbs, although the chocolate will stick.
- Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan. Use the parchment to lift the loaf out of the pan and place on a cooling rack allowing it to cool completely. Cutting into the bread prior to cooling off will result in a gummy bread. Once cool to the touch, drizzle the maple glaze over the top.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to three days.
For the Maple Glaze (optional):
- Combine the sugar, maple syrup, milk and vanilla bean paste in a small bowl. Whisk well. It can rest at room temperature while the bread bakes although it will develop a slight crust. Rewhisk the mixture as needed to remove the crust.