Dishing Up the Dirt

Chocolate Chip Kabocha Bread

I can’t believe that the holiday season is upon us but alas, here we are one week away from Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you all but I love having a go-to quick bread recipe on hand during the busy holiday season. This tasty loaf was a great way to use up a small portion of our winter supply of kabocha squash. Kabocha is perfect for baking because it’s one of the sweeter winter squash varieties. However, if you can’t find kabocha feel free to substitute with pumpkin, butternut, or even one of those beautiful (and giant!) blue hubbard squash. This is a great opportunity to cruise your local farmers market for storage squash anyway to keep on hand for the long winter ahead!

This particular recipe is lightly adapted from Amy Chaplin’s cookbook ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen‘ and uses spelt flour instead of all-purpose. I loved how light tasting the bread was with spelt flour and the addition of dark chocolate chips made it feel just “naughty” enough to have around during a season when we’re indulging a bit more. Amy’s original recipe called for a cinnamon walnut swirl but I was fresh out of walnuts so I subbed with chocolate chips. I was really happy with how this turned out and hope you all love this bread as much as we do. Our favorite way to serve this up is sliced into thick pieces, toasted and then smeared with a healthy amount of good quality butter. Pair with coffee or tea for a perfectly delicious morning treat.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm

Chocolate Chip Kabocha Bread

Prep Time: 25 minutes    Cook Time: 50 minutes    Serves: 1 loaf

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Kabocha Batter
  • 1 medium kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 3 1/2 cups worth but steam all the cubes and save leftovers for another use)
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk (can substitute a non-dairy milk here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Place chocolate chips, cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a bowl; mix to combine and set aside.
  2. Steam the squash for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Place in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Measure out 1 1/2 cups and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  4. Sift spelt flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil, maple syrup, milk, salt, vanilla and egg to the mashed squash; whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into squash mixture until just combined. Spread half of the batter over the bottom of the loaf pan. Layer the chocolate chip cinnamon mixture evenly over batter and top with remaining batter. To create a swirl, use a small rubber spatula or butter knife to zigzag back and forth through the batter (across the pan) and one stroke straight through the center of the loaf (lengthwise).
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out and placing on a wire rack.


*This recipe as adapted from Amy Chaplin's cookbook 'At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen' *Cooking times will very depending on your specific oven

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11 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Kabocha Bread

  1. Susan says:

    Would it be possible to swap in an all purpose GF flour for the spelt, such as Bob Red Mill’s 1 to 1?

    1. Andrea says:

      I haven’t tried this recipe with all purpose flour but I think that should be just fine.

  2. Erika says:

    I have made this twice now and it doesn’t seem to rise, it’s dense and shallow, any thoughts?

    1. Andrea says:

      hmmmm. The spelt flour should definitely not make this overly dense so I’m not sure what the issue is. Overmixing will make the batter more dense and I’d double check that your baking isn’t old. Those are the only things I can think of. Sorry it hasn’t been working our for you. We love this bread!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I made this tonight and it split in half at the point where the chocolate layer is when I put it on the wire rack. Any suggestions as to what I did wrong?

  4. Jennifer says:

    Andrea, are you supposed to mix the chocolate chips into the batter? I read it as putting them in a middle layer between the batter, but when I took it out of the pan onto the wire rack, the break split in two length-wise so the only thing I could think of was maybe I was suppose to mix the chips into the batter. Thanks for any suggestions!

    1. Andrea says:

      No the chocolate chips are part of the swirl. I’m not sure why your bread split in half. Interesting. I’ve made this many times without that happening and I can’t think of what would cause that….sorry it didn’t turn out for you. This is a favorite.

  5. Hallie Flynn says:

    I replaced the chocolate chips with dates and used butternut squash. It turned out amazing!

  6. Rozerem says:

    Hi! I made this however used whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour. Followed everything else but the “bread” came out super dense and almost pie like. Not sure what went wrong. :’(

  7. Laura says:

    Any idea if removing the chocolate from the recipe will interfere with how the load turns out? I’m also hoping to sprinkle in some nuts/seeds instead; not sure if this is a good idea.

    1. Andrea says:

      Absolutely! You can replace the chocolate with nuts or seeds (or a combination of both) or simply leave it out.

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