Thursday, September 4, 2014

Butternut Squash Bread with Toasted/Salted Pecans

Recently I was gifted a beautiful Butternut Squash from my friend, Shabnam's personal garden. You can find her, and her lovely recipes, over on FlavorNSpice I love Butternut Squash, maybe that's why she sent me one ... because I begged ... and her squash was picture perfect.

Butternut Squash can be baked, boiled, grilled, sauteed', pureed, added to soups, made into creamy pasta sauce, or added to baked sweet breads, muffins, pie and more. It, along with sweet potatoes, can be substituted in almost every recipe calling for pumpkin with very similar results (my family never knows the difference). Simply put, it's awesome!

Did you know?
  • Butternut squash compose of many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. As in other Cucurbitaceae members, butternut too has very low calories; 100 g provides just 45 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, is rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables that often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and weight-reduction programs.
  • It has more vitamin A than that of in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, constituting about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for optimum eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like α and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
  • It has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
  • Source:  Nutrition and
So now, let's bake! Recipe adapted from What's Cooking America.Net

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup butternut squash puree 
(baked and mashed butternut squash)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten 
(preferably farm fresh)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup toasted salted pecans, chopped 
*Cinnamon-Sugar to sprinkle over tops of loaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oven rack in center of oven. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or three (3) mini-loaf pans with baking spray

Measure all ingredients except pecans into a large mixing bowl. Mix on med-low speed until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan (s) and sprinkle tops evenly with chopped pecans. Bake large loaf for 50 to 60 minutes (mini-loaves 35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove pans from oven, remove loaves from pans and let cool on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle tops well with cinnamon sugar if using.

Once loaves are cool, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in zip-top bags, and stored in the freezer ... if they last that long.

Yield:  1 large or 3 mini-loaves



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