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Butternut Squash Bread

January 17, 2010
Sometime back in October or November I had company coming, and I decided early that morning to make pumpkin bread to share.  After pulling out my favorite recipe, digging the ingredients out of the pantry, and measuring the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, I realized I had a bit of a problem.   There wasn’t a single can of pumpkin in my house. 
Cue the panic.  Both Shane & I were still in our PJs, unshowered, and not fit for heading out the the grocery store…which is a bit of a drive even on the best of days.  My husband had already left for work, and would have been less than thrilled if I called him to ask that he pick up canned pumpkin and rushed it home to me.
Then I opened the fridge, and struck inspiration gold.  Front and center was a bowl of leftover butternut squash from the night before.
I finished the recipe, using pureed squash in place of the canned pumpkin, and the bread was a huge hit.  My friends devoured the bread later than day, and pretty much demanded the recipe.  Or else.

(Scroll all the way to the end for the complete recipe).


You can use frozen pureed butternut squash in this recipe.  We planted a single butternut squash plant in last summer’s garden, so I’ve been using the fresh squash we still have in cold storage. 

If you’re using fresh squash, cut in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for a half hour at 350*.  Turn squash over, cover, and bake about 20 to 25 minutes longer (until fork-tender).

PhotobucketRoughly cut the cooked squash into chunks, then puree in a food processor (add water a little at a time to bring it to a puree-like consistancy).

PhotobucketIn a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients — flour (I substitute whole wheat flour for about a third of the flour the recipe calls for), sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.

Add wet ingredients (water, oil, butternut squash, eggs).

PhotobucketMix thoroughly to combine.

PhotobucketGrease & flour three 9 x 5 in. loaf pans and fill each halfway with batter.
Bake at 325* for an hour and fifteen minutes.

PhotobucketLet cool about five minutes in pans…

Photobucket…then remove from pans, finish cooling on a rack, and enjoy!

Last week was a busy one for Shane and I.  We were having friends over on two separate days, plus I was escaping for an evening to go to a La Leche League meeting.  I had signed up to bring a snack to this month’s meeting, plus I wanted to have something to offer to those we invited for playdates, so Wednesday morning I pulled out my recipe again.
This time, however, there was silence as everyone tucked into the bread.  No requests for the recipe.  Even the kids were just picking at the bread.  I cut myself a piece, tasted, and…
“This doesn’t taste anything like what it’s supposed to!?  I don’t know what I did wrong!”
One of the women tried another bite, chewed quietly for a moment, hesitated, then asked cautiously, “Could you have forgotten the sugar?”
Photobucket*Gulp*  Remember this picture here, the one showing the mixing bowl filled with the dry ingredients?  Look closely.  I’m missing the granulated sugar…which would make a dramatic difference in the yumminess of this bread!  So, my words of wisdom are: while baking, try to avoid being distracted by a toddler pleading “Please!” while clutching a bin of train tracks…at least not until you’re finished measuring out your ingredients.

 Thankfully, a thick slathering of cream cheese frosting
goes a long way towards saving this bread! Photobucket


This recipe originally called for one 15 oz. can of pumpkin, but I substituted 2 cups of pureed butternut squash.  (And it is a really tasty pumpkin bread recipe, if you’d rather try that instead). 

Butternut Squash Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour for one cup of the all-purpose)
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cooked, pureed butternut squash
4 large eggs
* Grease and flour three 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
* Combine dry ingredients.  Add water, oil, eggs, & squash.  Fill each loaf pan half full with batter.
* Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean).

Cream Cheese Frosting

(Recipe adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook)

 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light in fluffy.  Continue beating, while slowly adding in confectioner’s sugar a half cup at a time until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.  Store leftover frosting in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Here’s my question for all of you: 

This recipe has a lot of refined sugar & vegetable oil. 
Any suggestions on how to tweak this so that it’s healthier, without sacrificing the taste?
4 Comments leave one →
  1. crnnoel permalink
    January 17, 2010 6:14 pm

    You can almost always cut the amount of sugar in half and not notice (from my experience). Also, you can substitute some applesauce for some of the oil.

    • January 17, 2010 6:44 pm

      Thanks for these suggestions! I had forgotten all about substituting applesauce for oil until I read your comment. I’ll give this a try next time. And, as you saw (tasted?)the other day, omitting all of the sugar is never a good idea…but next time I’ll try cutting half of the amount listed in the recipe, and go from there.

      Thank you!

  2. January 18, 2010 6:49 pm

    I’m glad you got advice on that because I know very little about cooking. But this bread sounds great! Thanks for the recipe. If I ever get time to cook it I’ll try!

  3. January 18, 2010 10:36 pm

    I have read that olive oil has no bad cholesterol and actively lowers the bad cholesterol in your blood stream. We use virgin olive oil in recipes as an alternative to whatever other fat is used, If the cake or bread has a robust taste you don’t taste the olive flavour. I would stick to butter on lighter sponge style baking. Sometimes you have to have a little treat!

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