Friday, March 30, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Bread

There's something about the combination of chocolate and strawberries that just seems decadent.  Even in this quick bread, a few sliced strawberries and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips brings a regular morning treat to a whole new level.  Strawberry bread isn't very typical-- you don't see it in a lot of coffee shops or hear about people making it, but it's such a seasonal and lovely twist on quick bread.  And the chocolate chips add a great flavor element for a different sweetness.  Moist, tasty and easy to make, this is perfect for sharing with coworkers, making for a bake sale or pot luck, or gifting to a neighbor or friend in need of a pick me up or a quick breakfast option.  I brought this to work for a meeting and it was a big hit.  One attendee turned to me during the meeting and said, "Excuse me, but I'm going to make a pig of myself on this if you don't mind."  Ha!

I've been following Christina at Sweet Pea's Kitchen since last fall--she hooked me with her tailgate recipes. But I really like her baked goods and how she makes subtle changes to classic recipes to come up with whole new flavors and the shear abundance of beautiful desserts to choose from is like a wonderful day of window shopping for a little drool.  So when I wanted to make a quick bread because I was short on time, I took a spin through Christina's archives.  I had strawberries in the fridge, so this recipe called out to me. I added 2 Tablespoons of cake enhancer because I wanted to test it (it's supposed to make my breads "softer, moister, and stay fresher longer"--I think it did the first two, but the bread didn't stick around long enough to test the third) and decreased the sugar just a smidgen because my strawberries were very sweet already.  Otherwise, I followed Christina's instructions, which were spot on.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Bread


2 Cups fresh strawberries, divided
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons cake enhancer (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Wash and hull 1 cup of strawberries.  Place them in a blender or food processor and puree.

Transfer to a medium bowl.  Wash, hull and slice remaining strawberries and add them to the puree.  (Hint: Want to know how to get even strawberry slices every time without almost cutting your fingers?  Do you have an egg slicer kicking around your kitchen?  Bust it out!  Works perfectly to slice strawberries, too!)

Sprinkle sugar over strawberries and puree; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cake enhancer to combine.

Add oil, eggs, and vanilla to strawberry mixture and stir to combine.

Add strawberry mixture to batter and blend until incorporated before gently folding in chocolate chips.

Transfer batter into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until top is golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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