Baked Sunday Mornings: Double-Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread

This week's selection for BAKED Sunday Mornings seemed like it should be an easy assignment: a chocolate quickbread loaf -- made with both cocoa and chocolate chips -- served with a peanut butter cream cheese spread.  Making the loaf only requires putting dry ingredients (dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) into a mixing bowl, adding wet ingredients (eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, oil, vanilla) while the mixer is running, and then stirring in dark chocolate chunks.  The resulting batter is beautifully thick and glossy.

The recipe instructs you use a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan.  I own many loaf pans in various sizes, but I don't happen to have any that are precisely that size.  The first time I tried this recipe, I used 8.5-inch by 4.5 inch pans.  The resulting loaves were overdone on the outside, and dense and dry on the inside, crumbling apart as they were sliced.  I attributed the problem to the fact that my slightly smaller pans were likely too full (thus requiring more baking time), in combination with the dark non-stick interior of my pans (resulting in the crust becoming overbaked).  In addition, I made the loaves with Callebaut 70.4% chips, and the bread was so chocolatey that it practically hit you over the head with chocolate flavor.  The bread was passable with the peanut butter cream cheese spread, but I was unhappy with the result.  I decided I had to try the recipe again.

The second time I made the bread, I used 60.3% Callebaut chocolate chips, and I baked the bread in a 10-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with a light-colored nonstick interior (a Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch pan).  The results were much better.  While the bread was still very dense, I was at least able to cut through it cleanly to make some nice-looking slices that stayed intact.

Even using 60.3% chips, the chocolate flavor in this loaf was still incredibly intense. While I love chocolate as much as the next person and normally think that more chocolate is better, I found that the dense texture of the bread in conjunction with the heavy-handed one-note chocolate flavor was just too much.  I didn't particularly enjoy the bread eaten alone.  However, smeared with a layer of peanut butter cream cheese, it was a completely different experience.  I found that the peanut butter spread (made from cream cheese, creamy peanut butter, and granulated sugar) completely balanced out the texture and flavor of the chocolate loaf.  The smooth, creamy, slightly tangy spread was just delicious and I kept thinking how it would make an excellent filling for a chocolate sandwich cookie.  It would also be great on a toasted bagel, or heck, just about anything I can think of.

I also made a batch of bread into four mini-loaves.  While these looked adorable, they were also a little overbaked on the outside -- my mini loaf pans also have dark non-stick finish inside.  In the future, I think I would either line my dark-colored pans with parchment to make this recipe, or perhaps turn down the oven 25 degrees.

Even though this recipe is very easy to make, it's not something I imagine I will make often.  But I definitely intend to find some other uses for the peanut butter cream cheese spread!

Recipe: "Double-Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at BAKED Sunday Mornings.


Elaine said…
I love your little loaf gift! I used a lighter metallic pan that was 9 x 5 and didn't have those problems. If your pans are all darker it does sound like the oven temp needs to be lower. I agree with you that the chocolate was a little overpowering, but with the spread it was a delicious. I think try this with semi-sweet or even milk chocolate chunks and lighter cocoa would be worth a try.
I love minis and yours are sweet with the bows
mike said…
What a wonderful presentation! And I agree - there was just too much chocolate here (how can you have TOO much)! But it was an easy loaf to make and glad you enjoyed it - I'll have to try to get those Callebaut chips - sound wonderful!
Nina said…
Yours looks wonderful!! Good for you for doing it again! Agree about the chocolate; think it didn't need the additional chocolate- But loved the recipe with the spread! Mini-loaves are a great idea for this.
Kris' Kitchen said…
Pretty little loaves make such lovely gifts. I am a chocoholic! The darker and richer the for me...all the chocolate was just exactly right! Nice photos!
Anonymous said…
I'm with you ... I made mini loaves and I over baked them slightly ... but found that it was a little unforgiving (normally overbaking by 2 minutes isn't the end of the world). I'll try it again with a regular loaf pan ... and I think I will toss in milk chocolate rather than a dark chocolate.