Here's a twist on a seasonal favorite that you can enjoy all month long: chocolate pumpkin bread. Perfect for toting to parties or even toasting for breakfast, this recipe can be baked in a beautiful bundt pan or two loaf pans. If you want to be even more adventurous, bake in mini loaves, wrap in parchment, tie with twine, and give them to friends and family as tokens of gratitude.
The method is very simple and easy to involve the kids--but it may involve guarding the chocolate stash before mixing in the dough!
Chocolate and pumpkin may not come to mind at first as a great combination. What makes it work is the richness of dark chocolate playing against the warm notes of pumpkin pie spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. Pumpkin is packed with nutrients so you can feel good about getting a few vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with your dessert fix!
Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
3 ¼ c Flour
1 ½ t Baking Soda
2 t Cinnamon
1 ½ t Nutmeg
½ t Ground Ginger (use fresh grated for more pow)
½ t Ground Cloves
½ t Salt
1 c Butter, softened
2 c Sugar
3 Eggs, room temp
1 ½ c Canned Pumpkin
10 oz Chopped Dark Chocolate Chunks
1 ¼ c Roasted Salted Pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one bundt or two loaf pans.
Sift together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in bowl. In stand mixer or second bowl, cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Add canned pumpkin and mix well. Fold in chocolate chunks and pecans.
Pour into loaf pans or bundt. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Check for doneness with clean toothpick or skewer. Cool on wire rack. Do not remove from pans until cool.
Here's one for a Saturday afternoon with the girls, Sunday with the family, or any time you're looking for a fun new beverage to serve. Using our Black Diamond Finely Ground Dark Chocolate, you can create your own upscale egg creams.
What the heck is an egg cream?
Admitted, this writer is not from the northeast. I learned about egg creams from a sophisticated 1990s television show exploring the cultural anthropology of the inhabitants of Manhattan and Queens, otherwise known as The Nanny. In one such episode, the English butler, Niles, inquires of the Nanny's large, Wagnerian mother whether she needs anything from his service. "Oh nothing," she replies, "just an egg cream."
The first issue to clear up, of course, is that there is no egg in an egg cream. But there is cream, at least in this concoction, as well as chocolate, seltzer, and ice.
I played mixologist for the day and came up with an egg cream recipe I find pretty darn tasty. My toddler, of course, thought every version was equally worth running into the closet with to hide and drink down as fast as possible. My mistakes along the way: 1.) Do not try to make Black Diamond into a chocolate syrup with a simple syrup base. The product turns so sweet that it's almost like drinking mouthwash (I know, weird). 2.) Do not try to melt Black Diamond by itself. Because it's a premium chocolate, it needs the addition of cream to melt smoothly. There's not a bunch of fake stuff in there. 3.) Do not use club soda. Club has a weird aftertaste that works great in mojitos but clashes with the chocolate. Use seltzer.
Here is the recipe:
Black Diamond Egg Cream
Makes 1 serving
Preserve the 2-1 ratio of chocolate to cream to make the base for your drinks. Combine Black Diamond and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring each time. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate. Get it to a smooth consistency. If you do overcook, you may be able to rescue by adding more cream and stirring.
Pour melted chocolate into bottom of a highball glass. Add seltzer and stir. A bar spoon or bar whisk are helpful tools for this. Add ice. (Adding ice later prevents chocolate from hardening).
Top off with more seltzer if needed. Garnish with a squirt of whipped cream, mint or lavender sprigs (optional).
Did you know Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22?
In honor of this day, we are bringing you an interview with Georgia Young of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM). Red Elephant Chocolate was proud to be a contributor to the ZSM's Platypus Circle Picnic this year. Each guest received our Elephants on Parade. In addition, fun & fascinating Elephacts graced each tabletop. Georgia was nice enough to sit down with us after the event and share what makes the ZSM such an important part of the Zoo we know and love.
1. What role does the Zoological Society play in supporting the Milwaukee County Zoo?
The mission of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) is to conserve wildlife and endangered species, educate people about the importance of wildlife and the environment, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo. The ZSM financially supports the Milwaukee County Zoo through our fundraising events, memberships, corporate sponsorships and individual gifts.
2. How can people from the community get involved with the Zoological Society?
Purchasing a Platypus Circle membership is a great way to support the Zoo and ZSM. Platypus Circle members receive a number of benefits. These include free Zoo admission for up to 16 people per day, free parking, behind-the-scenes tours that take you to areas not accessible to the general public; free admission to Zoo and ZSM events; invitations to members-only ZSM events; and much more. Our volunteer auxiliary, Zoo Pride, is another great way to get involved. For more information on the Platypus Circle and Zoo Pride, visit our website at zoosociety.org. Attending one of our many fundraising events like Snooze at the Zoo or Zoo Brew is a great way to support our organization and have a great time.
3. What is a fun fact most people don't know about the Milwaukee County Zoo?
The Zoo’s “urban forest” is more than 100 years old and could have been around during the Civil War.
4. Tell us about your elephant sponsorships.
People can sponsor the Zoo’s two African elephants, Ruth and Brittany, through our Sponsor an Animal program. Animal Sponsors receive a number of benefits based on their sponsorship level. To learn more please go to our website and click on “Animal Sponsor” at the top.
5. And finally, what is your favorite "elephact" (fact about elephants)?
Elephants are excellent swimmers! They can stay afloat for 6 hours and swim at a rate of 1.3 mph. Elephants have been known to swim distances of 30 miles at a stretch.
Milwaukee, Wis. – For the entire weekend celebration, Thursday through Sunday, Red Elephant Chocolate will be featuring Orange and Black delights starting with a signature favorite, orange and black (well really chocolate) cream puffs called the ‘two-wheel deal’, drizzled with our all natural chocolates and topped with fresh fruit or other daily selections.
Then there’s the hand painted Orange and Black Jack Daniel’s fireball and Whiskey River volcano truffles, and the hand-painted tank and engine flames on a Harley motorcycle also made with our all natural chocolates. Finally we offer ‘trail mix’ for the ride home. We call our chocolate coated trail mix ‘Rrrumbles’ for the warm up, and the salted and roasted version ‘Safari’ mix for the trek.
There is also an in-cafe special (chocolate coffee with a sea salt caramel) reserved only for those sporting Harley gear.
In acknowledgement of the coinciding Third Ward Art Festival, we refer to all this ‘artful eating’!
To add some fun for everyone who visits, we feature a daily drawing to win either a Red Elephant 16 oz. Tumbler or Fidel Hat, with a large tub of either the Rrrumbles or Red Elephant’s Black Diamond finely ground chocolate for home brewed chocolate coffee.
To get an Entry Form, just show us your digital email drawing announcement or bring in the Golden Ticket flyer we randomly distribute daily around the Third Ward. Winners will be drawn daily and notified by email so they can stop by to pick up their prizes (we’ll mail them to out of towners).
Move over, kittycats. These baby elephant videos are as adorable as any random pet trick or farm animal antics. Cuddle up with your toddler or a cup of joe and feel the love.
1. Fort Worth Zoo Baby Elephant Plays in Pool
Elephants love to splash in that baby pool as much as your little punkin' pie.
2. Rescue Team Save Baby Elephant from Well
Animal rescue workers take on the grueling task of lifting a baby elephant out of a well with a frustrated mom nearby. The reunion starts around 04:55. Keep a kleenex nearby.
3. Elephant Painting an Elephant
A-Mazing. Elephants are just behind dolphins in the smarts category. Trainers have taught them to paint, and some groups like Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project use the sale of the artwork to fund conservation.
4. Baby Elephant Plays in the Mud
Currently trending on the web is this cute little video of a baby elephant playing in the mud. It must be excellent for all those wrinkles...
5. Moms Rescue Drowning Elephant Baby
This is a pretty cool look inside an elephant herd, which is comprised of females and children. (The males leave the herd at puberty.) Watch the moms "lean in" (ha!) and figure out how to save a baby stuck in the water.
And while watching, we suggest snacking on our Elephants on Parade....
If you were a child any time after 1968, you probably sat mezmorized at one time or another watching Mr. Rogers tour the crayon factory. Fred Rogers was a pioneer in tapping into a child's curiosity of how things work. The "behind the scenes" genre for children has grown exponentially ever since.
From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate is a particularly fine example of books about the way things are made. The narrative follows the title exactly as it states. You see full-page color photos of cocoa pods, cocoa beans drying under the tropical sun, transportation to the factory, cocoa butter extraction, pouring chocolate into molds, and the final wrapped chocolate bar. And it ends with everyone's favorite question: "What's your favorite kind of chocolate?" To which my kids yell, "Chocolate Ice Cream!"
Actually, I had no idea when I first read it to the kids that it would become their obsession. I suppose chocolate infatuation starts early. This book became their number one bedtime story request. They love pointing to each page and stating what the picture relates. It's almost word-for-word memorization. (Easy to come by when you've read it 20 or 30 times.) Seeing a product formed step-by-step entrances their imaginations--especially something so yummy and delicious as CHOCOLATE!
Be warned, though. If you expose your children to this book they may start informing adults on the characteristics, modes, and methods of chocolate production. It's happened. Even the 2 year old does it.
Adults may enjoy the book as much as the kids. The photography is crisp, the pages have clean graphic design, and you feel smarter after you read it (a little smarter than after reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, for example). It's a fun book to give to a chocolate lover in your life.
You can order the From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate via Red Elephant Chocolate at this link.
Pour yourself a hot cocoa or chocolate coffee and enjoy some tasty words from Red Elephant's resident poet laureate!
Cream filled and dipped.
Caramel drizzled, and
White chocolate hearts
colored in red.
Fudge filled truffles, bittersweet.
Ice cream with sprinkles, a summer treat.
Milk chocolate covered coconut macaroons,
Chocolate dipped, peppermint spoons.
Hot Chile pepper truffles with quite a kick,
Chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick.
A favorite I find is our key lime caramel,
a piece that truly is something to marvel.
It’s wonderful tangy filling it’s so hard to resist.
So many unique hand made creations,
a collage of flavors and textures to many to list.
Where can you find these tempting treats you might hear people say.
Why in the Third Ward at Red Elephant Chocolate Café on 333 North Broadway.
Come and try some today!!
by Elizabeth J. Swirth
Show us your festival ticket* at the Third Ward Café and receive BUY ONE GET ONE FREE ice cream cone, sundae or shake!
*during the actual festival days
Downtown Dining Dessert Special is extended thru Sunday, June 16!
Our Exclusive Chocolate Cream Puff Sundae - $5.95
Dine In At The Third Ward Cafe
Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with our original chocolate whipped cream recipe in a scrumptious pastry shell, drizzled with our all-natural premium hot fudge and garnished with seasonal berries. P.S. Dads love chocolate and ice cream too!
Father's Day is June 16!
Our 5 Picks for Dad under $20
- Spirited-Infused Truffles - Johnny Walker, Captain Morgan, Rum Chatta and Jack Daniels: Oh My! This Father's Day, Red Elephant Chocolate is featuring a four-piece collection of truffles that Dad will love. Each truffle is infused with top-shelf spirits for the perfect balance of premium chocolate and liqueur flavor. The hand painted collection includes Scotch Whiskey, Amaretto, Spiced Rum and Cream Rum Liqueur centers enrobed in premium dark chocolate. An easy and memorable way to toast Dad this Father's Day.
- Marcona Almonds - referred to as "The Queen of Almonds", are almost exclusively produced along the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. They are uniquely shaped, crunchy with a sweet delicate taste and have a higher content of natural and beneficial oils than the pointier, typical California variety.
- Fruit & Nut Tumbled Chocolates - we recommend Our NEW "Campr" Tumbles so Dad Gets a Little Bit of Everything...whole roasted, salted cashews, almonds, macadamia and pecans along with plump raisins in our 62% dark chocolate and premium milk chocolate blends.
- Red Elephant Chocolate Premium Coffee Blends - Indonesian Bold or Central American Mild (Don't forget to pick up Black Diamond Finely Ground Premium chocolate so Dad can brew his very own Black Diamond Chocolate Coffee at Home!)
- Rain Forest Milk and Dark Chocolate Bars - all natural premium milk chocolate or premium 62% dark chocolate. Available in plain, whole roasted and salted almond or plump chocolate covered raisin.