Sunday, May 06, 2007

Chocolate and Parsnip Loaf

As it's the first weekend of the month, Weekend Herb Blogging returns home to Kalyn's Kitchen where Kalyn is our most gracious host.

I've got my eye on something that isn't a big white carrot...the Parsnip.

parsnip© by haalo

This is one root vegetable that I can't say that I'm too fond of in what is regarded as its "traditional" use but I'll delve into that later.

Parsnips are high in Vitamins C and K along with Calcium, Fibre, Folate, Iron, Manganese and Potassium. The high levels of potassium make them useful in reducing blood pressure.

An interesting historical aside is that Parsnip, up until about 200 years ago was eaten as a sweet, in fact the word "nip" referred to sweet items. This new found knowledge imparted at the "Desserts of the Future" dinner at Fenix - home to that magnificent basil ice-cream.

As much as I would love to recreate the parsnip dessert featured that night, you're going to have to be satisfied with this recipe by Liz Franklin in her book Quick Breads for a Chocolate and Parsnip Loaf!

Now, don't write it off - believe me this is a bread worth making. I think the whole key to its success lies in the molasses - one taste of the batter before adding the shredded parsnip and chocolate chips put the whole recipe in context. There are notes in the flavour of molasses that compliment the parsnip. The bread also cooks for a long time so all the sugars get to caramelise and what you end up with is this rich and dark loaf that will get your mind thinking as well as satisfying those cravings.

Chocolate and Parsnip Loaf© by Haalo

Chocolate and Parsnip Loaf

320 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
200ml melted butter, cooled
350 grams caster sugar
100 grams black treacle/molasses
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100 grams dark chocolate chips
200 grams grated parsnip

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line a 1kg/2lb capacity loaf pan.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda and place into a large bowl.

In another bowl add the melted butter, sugar, treacle and eggs and beat until smooth and amalgamated. Pour this into the dry ingredients, stirring well to combine.

Stir through the chocolate chips followed by the grated parsnip.

Spoon this into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface - give the pan a couple of taps to ensure the mix has spread out evenly.

Bake for about 70 minutes or until well risen and golden.

Let it sit in the tin for 20 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate and Parsnip Loaf© by Haalo

This is very moist bread and it isn't overly sweet, the molasses gives it a hint of bitterness as do the dark chocolate chips. The parsnip in my mind is a textural element, it's clearly visible as the light wiggles that run through the bread. This would be great toasted for breakfast, perhaps with some honey and matches well to coffee.


  1. Haalo, you always come up with the best ideas! Chocolate and Parsnip, who would have thought? Another must-try recipe! :)

  2. I made a parsnip cake once (for Sam's Sugar LOW Friday), and it was a total disaster. Yours looks great - and chocolate/parsnip combination is really intriguing. Well done!

  3. This looks so rich and delicious. What a wonderful use of the humble parsnip.

  4. I agree, I always love seeing what you have come up with. I'm also not too fond of this the way it's usually prepared (boiled) although I heard recently that roasted parsnips are quite tasty. Not as tasty as this, I bet!

  5. Thanks Anh - it's a great cake to play guess what's in here ;)

    Thanks Pille - parsnip has such a strong flavour it's important to have other flavours to match and I think the molasses and dark chocolate really do a good job here

    Thanks Truffle!

    Thanks Kalyn - roasted parsnips are the way to have them here, it's like the traditional companion to roast meats.

  6. Parsnips definitely need to be sweetened for me to enjoy them. I usually boil then carmelize in butter and brown sugar, but I can see by this very inventive loaf that I need to expand its potential. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I've learnt something new today, I would never have thought that parsnips were used in sweet dishes back in the day. The loaf looks great by the way. Roasted parsnips are in fact often served as an accompaniment to British Sunday roasts and even Christmas dinners over here. If you get them right, they can be very good. Get 'em wrong however, and they can be quite nasty

  8. Haalo, we have a vegetable here that is much appreciated and someone once told me that they couldn't find it where they live (UK). I've read that it translates as "white carrot" - I believe it's not the same as the parsnip, am I wrong?
    The one we have here is delicious, kind of mildly sweet, actually. We make soups with it and it's very popular to make baby food, too.

    I've baked bread with it and it's delicious - very tender.

    Your bread looks amazing! I love it that you used chocolate.

  9. Thanks Susan - i look forward to seeing what you do with parsnip!

    Thanks Trig - parsnip can be a bit tricky as you want them roasted to bring out their sugars but not so roasted that they are burnt.

    Hi Patricia - I wouldn't think it is the parsnip as that is such an "english" vegetable. You wouldn't have a picture of it?

  10. Haalo, this is "mandioquinha":

    Do you know if you can find it there?

  11. Thanks Patricia for the links - I don't think I've ever seen it here but I did find a link for the seeds and they are available in New Zealand and it seems to be called Peruvian Parsnip!


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