Like Twins But Different: Chocolate-Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Breads


Often mistaken for sisters, our friends Lindsey and Jenny have a lot in common,  not least being that they are both excellent athletes who carry themselves with a certain calm and graceful poise I can't help but admire. They have so much in the way of shared interests and observations, it can be tempting at times to make assumptions about one based on the other, but of course falling into that trap would be a real shame. After all,  people are far more emotionally and intellectually complex than snowflakes (at least I think we are), and we give them credit for unshakable uniqueness, right? Anyhow, back to the main point: Jenny and Lindsey, who you must know are both fabulously original people, happen to have birthdays  just before New Year, separated by a mere two days, and I got this idea fixed in my mind that I wanted to bake them something deliciously symbolic. Thus, peanut-butter chocolate and chocolate-peanut butter swirl breads. From a distance, you might think these breads were the same, but actually their individual components are entirely different, though beautifully, agreeably complementary, and I think they're both great. That's where the analogy stops. Go any further, and it gets a little uncomfortable, or at least awkward, with one being rich and smooth,  the other a little lumpy but hardier. The primarily Peanut Butter bread can just squeak by as "bread", and part of brunch, maybe. I based it on this Paula Deen recipe, and essentially followed it as is, except that I used whole wheat pastry flour. I also added about 1/2 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. To swirl through, add 1 cup batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon the chocolatey batter alternately with plain peanut butter batter (sounds like a line from Dr. Seuss!) into a prepared 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, then swirl the batters together using a knife.

The foremost chocolate loaf is pretty cheeky, being cake more than loaf, and doesn't even register as "healthy cake" tasting for that matter. This recipe was more of an on-the-go experiment, recipe below. I want to lapse into "can't judge a book by its cover", or "look closer and discover" type cliches and platitudes, but that really wouldn't make sense, even though it could be fun. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Bread/Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • Creamy, natural peanut butter to swirl, about 1/4 cup

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk, oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Fold in the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula.  Spoon the  batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Use a knife to swirl  peanut butter through batter. Bake at 35o degrees F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Shield the bread with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.