Pumpkin bread and Mexican hot chocolate

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – With Halloween just around the corner now is the perfect time to mix up some delicious treats to honor this spooky holiday. Tinky Weisblat, food writer at TinkyCooks.com showed us how to make Mexican hot chocolate and a pumpkin bread!

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3-1/2 cups flour

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, water, and sugar. Beat in the eggs, followed by the baking soda, salt, and spices.
Stir the flour into the pumpkin mixture JUST until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the bread at the hour mark. If it is brown on the outside but still very soggy on the inside, reduce the heat to 325 degrees, and continue to check every 5 minutes until the toothpick test works.
Remove the bread from the pans, and turn it onto racks to cool.

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Day of the Dead, la Dia de los Muertos, is a time to remember the departed. Traditional foods for this Mexican holiday include a sweet leavened bread (which I will have with me but can’t figure out how to make in a short segment!), skulls made out of sugar, and favorite foods of loved ones who have died. This rich, flavorful chocolate drink pays tribute to my late father, who loved chocolate, and to the country where the Day of the Dead is most widely celebrated. Do not omit the frothing of the chocolate: it gives the drink lovely texture.

Ingredients:
1 2.7-ounce package (2 discs) Mexican chocolate
2 cups milk
1 pinch salt

Directions:
Roughly chop or grate the chocolate. (I like to use my Microplane grater for this, but sometimes I run out of energy and just chop.) Set it aside.
Heat the milk over medium heat until it ALMOST starts to simmer. Remove the milk from the heat, and toss in the salt.
Slow add the chocolate, stirring until it dissolves.
Return the mixture to the stove and warm it up again over low heat. While it is heating, use a whisk, a frother, or an immersion blender to froth it.

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