Quick breads that keep well and ship well are great gifts to add to a care package. This Chocolate Espresso Pistachio bread is my all-time favorite quick bread and it was a constant request of my kids and their friends when they were in college. While not a low carb recipe due to the flour and sugar, it does pack in a number of healthy ingredients (cacao, pistachios, coffee, and olive oil.  Maybe next year I’ll try it with almond flour and a sugar substitute.  For now, enjoy.  It’s fun to be popular and this recipe gives you rock star status.

Chocolate Espresso Bread
Chocolate Espresso Pistachio Quick Bread

Why quick breads are good for care packages

It’s sometimes difficult to ship treats any distance without the recipient ending up with a crumbly or gooey mess. Quick breads are great shippable treats because they are easy to wrap, they don’t fall apart and they don’t have delicate fillings that can melt or get gooey.

This recipe was a standard in my kid’s college care packages. Chocolate is always welcome, but it was particularly popular at Valentine’s Day. Dress it up with red packaging, a card with cash and some non-edible essentials and you’re the mom of the day. Trust me. My son’s friends even gave me shout-outs on social media!

I used olive oil in the recipe to help keep it together more, but it sounds like from the comments below that melted butter worked quite well. Try it and let me know which you used and how you liked it OK?

Wrapping Chocolate Espresso Bread for Shipping

Chocolate Espresso Bread
Chocolate Espresso Pistachio Quick Bread

After the bread is completely cooled, wrap it with two pieces of plastic wrap, wrapping one piece along the length of the bread and one piece around the width to make sure there are no gaps where air can get in.  Then wrap the bread in aluminum foil and either freeze for shipping later or place in sturdy tin or box packed tightly with peanuts so it cannot move around.

Chocolate Espresso Pistachio Bread

Chocolate Espresso Pistachio Bread for Shipping
An awesome quick bread that ships well
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Servings 10
Calories 409
Author dorothy stainbrook


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil can use melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder I love the espresso powder I get from King Arthur Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pistachios finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered espresso beans optional for garnish


  • Take eggs and butter (if you are using butter rather than oil) out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with oil and sprinkle a handful of flour in the bottom and around the sides of the pan. Tilt and shake the pan to get it lightly coated with the flour and then tap out any excess flour onto the counter.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt). Set this aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until light and smooth. Add the oil (or butter), sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until just combined (don’t overmix). Fold in the pistachios.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios on top of bread. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean and not wet.
  • Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and cool completely before wrapping.


Calories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 7gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 152mgPotassium: 352mgFiber: 4gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 229IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share it on Instagram! @dorothy_stainbrook_heathglen or tag #heathglen!


  1. Julia Sanchez on February 8, 2020 at 2:49 am

    Can’t wait to try it! Do you recommend raw or roasted/toasted pistachios? When/how should the chocolate espresso beans be added for garnish?

    • dorothy stainbrook on February 8, 2020 at 8:31 am

      Hi Julia, so happy you’re going to try it. It was certainly a hit around our house. Re the pistachios – I didn’t toast them but you certainly could. It would make them more crunchy and the bread is pretty soft so I’m not sure it would be better. I like to toast nuts when they’re used in sauces or topping. Re the beans for garnish – grind them a bit and sprinkle on top of the bread after baking but while it is still warm so they can sink in a little bit. Enjoy!!

  2. Anonymous on January 24, 2020 at 6:09 am

    Looks Amazing!

    • dorothy stainbrook on January 24, 2020 at 6:15 am

      It was delish! Let me know if you try it and have any comments OK?

  3. Gwen on January 23, 2020 at 7:26 pm


    • dorothy stainbrook on January 24, 2020 at 6:14 am

      It was reallly a hit with my son and his friends! Definitely not low carb, but hey people have to have cheat days now and then right?

  4. Shirley on October 29, 2014 at 8:17 am

    This looks delicious — I’m going to make three loaves today – for three ‘kids’ in different states. I must admit I looked over the recipe several times when the directions say to take eggs and butter out of the fridge and bring to room temperature but there isn’t any butter in the recipe. I’m going with oil for shipping.

    • dorothy stainbrook on October 29, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Ah-h Shirley, you are right. Whenever I am developing a recipe I cross reference as many similar ones as I can find and I must have erred when I transcribed this. I will go back to my archives and figure out whether I used oil or butter. I do know it was a really big hit with my son and his room-mates. Thanks for the comment. I’ll fix it.

  5. Clayton on December 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I’ve made this for my husband (a choco-holic) several times. In the last batch, I substituted melted butter for the oil. He loves it.

    • dorothy stainbrook on December 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Clayton, I think I will try the butter for oil next time. Thanks! I think for shipping the oil might be a safer bet, but I bet the butter ups the flavor some.

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