My 8 year old son, Everett, loves to cook. He likes measuring out ingredients, mixing them up and licking the bowl clean. This year he put an Easy Bake Oven on his Christmas list. He was really excited about this until he found out it was pink and purple. He was not happy. There was no way he wanted a pink and purple oven.
I had yellow Easy Bake Oven when I was his age. I used to make biscuits for my dog in it. Wanting to encourage his love of cooking, I looked online for a blue one. I knew they made them since I had bought one several years ago for a friend’s daughter. Amazon sold the blue version……for $259. Not going to happen. I finally convinced him that he didn’t need an Easy Bake Oven. He has something better. He has a mom who will let him bake anything he wants (within reason) in a real oven.
This is how we came to make this lovely dark chocolate and pear tea bread. Since it was nearing Christmas, we decided to make something he could give to his teachers as a gift. Surprisingly, Everett was quite picky about what he wanted to make. Unfortunately, most of the recipes he chose were either incredibly complicated or required expensive or unavailable ingredients. After spending an hour scouring several cook books and many websites we finally agreed on a reasonable recipe that could easily be made in bulk.
The bread turned out fantastic. The bitterness of the dark chocolate was a perfect compliment to the sweet, delicate flavor of the fresh pears. The batter itself was so delicious, we both licked the bowl clean. We packed up a dozen of these little tea cakes. He was so excited to pass them out. He loves giving gifts, but mostly he was proud of the fact that this was something he made, mostly himself.
Even after all this baking, Everett was still stuck on the Easy Bake Oven. I think he liked the idea of having something that was his very own to cook with. While we were doing some last minute shopping, he spotted a cake pop maker in blue. He bought it with his own money and this seems to have satisfied him for the time being. I did find out that Hasbro will be releasing a gender neutral Easy Bake Oven next year, but I hope to have him hooked on baking in a real oven by then. Because honestly, how much can you do with a light bulb as a heat source?
- 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 c brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 2 large pears – peeled, seeded, cored and diced
- 3/4 c dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 4 mini loaf pans (or one large loaf pan) and dust with flour. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and apple sauce.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and pears. Pour mixture into prepared pans.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes (1 hour for a large loaf pan) or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
- Allow bread to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow bread to cool completely before slicing.
Adapted from Passionate About Baking