Since I started out the week with butternut squash, I decided to continue with it. It’s not that I’m on a butternut squash trend or anything, it’s just that I have a few that I purchased on sale awhile back, since the sale was so great. It’s not often we can get organic butternut squash for $0.69 a pound here in Colorado, so I stocked up.
For Valentine’s Day, I made a Butternut Squash Olive Oil bread that tasted awesome. I used it on my cheese plate but this bread will make a great breakfast bread and was sweet enough to be dessert without being overly sweet. The flavors of the roasted butternut combined wonderfully with the olive oil and fresh thyme that I used.
I know olive oil is a little unusual to use in quick breads but it really adds so much depth and flavor to the right combination of ingredients and it’s good for you. So much better than the butter or many of the oils you can add.
My husband was a little skeptical about me making this (fortunately for me, we have a deal that he is my test guinea pig for my new recipes), but he’s a believer after trying it and said, I quote, “it goes down so easy, I want more.” I’m hoping to make at least one more batch before the season is over to get winter squash. As with any other veggie, it’s best to use locally grown as much as possible and buy what’s in season so we will be putting the winter squash away here in Colorado soon and preparing for the yumminess of summer squash season (think zucchini bread or zucchini carrot cake, YUM!).
As usual for my baking recipes, the amount of ingredients are listed for Denver’s altitude of 5,280 and I’ve given the adjustments for low altitudes. Higher altitudes will probably still need to make adjustments for the bread to rise properly.
The nutmeg may sound like a lot when you’re first making this recipe, since nutmeg is such a potent spice, but trust me on the amount and add it all. It brings such a great flavor of spice and isn’t overpowering at all.
The pepitas as they are called out here, are pumpkin seeds for those in other locations, are optional but I highly recommend including them. They added a crisp, crunchy texture to the bread that really worked. Or you can top with your favorite nut. I’m sure that walnuts or almonds would be awesome with this as well. Also, while I didn’t use any this time, this recipe would also be great with chocolate chips added for those who like a hint of chocolate in your sweet breads.
If you measure out the olive oil into your measuring cup before measuring the honey, the oil will coat the cup and keep the honey from sticking. Instead, it will slide right out easily into your mixing bowl. Another trick is to spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before measuring out honey or molasses to make it easier to get out of the cup.
This is an easy fun bread to make and your taste buds will love it. You’ll forget that it’s actually good for you as well, filled with whole wheat flour, butternut squash, fresh thyme, olive oil, pepitas and local honey.
Butternut Squash Olive Oil Bread
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda (1 tsp. low altitudes)
3/4 tsp. double-action baking powder (1/2 tsp. low altitudes)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs (2 low altitude)
1 1/2 cups of roasted butternut squash purée
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Preheat the oven to 350°, with the rack placed in the center. Lightly oil a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baling soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium-size bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butternut squash purée, eggs, sugar, olive oil, fresh thyme and honey until combined well. Add the dry ingredient mix and stir just until the ingredients are mixed together well. Do not over mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter several times to help the batter settle evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the pepitas or nuts of your choice evenly over the top and press gently down to make sure they adhere to the bread. Place pan into the oven and bake until top is lightly browned* and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread, comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before placing on a wire rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before slicing.
Makes 8 servings.
*Keep an eye on the browning and cover the top with foil if it’s getting too brown before finishing.
More ideas for using butternut squash: