Sunday, March 6, 2016

Butternut Squash Bread with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Last year when my parents traveled to Indonesia, I had to take care of their house and yard.  I didn't have to do much with the yard though but I had to make sure the plants were watered well and picked a few handful of produce from their vegetable garden.  One day, as I was looking out the window from their living room, I noticed there's a vine that's growing over and around the short hedges lining up the front pathway.  It seemed like a squash plant tried to grow.  My parents and I love kabocha squash very much and there was a talk in the past of planting one or two plants in the vegetable garden.  We just love the sweet and smooth texture of this squash that when it's in season, my mom would buy one or two.  She then would slice it thin, dredged it in tempura batter, and deep-fried it.  That was our afternoon snack, and between us, we could probably eat the whole squash ourselves.  My mom wouldn't choose an overly big one, but she smartly picked the small one.

That plant was growing like weed and there's also one in the backyard, but when I asked my dad about it, he said he actually didn't plant any in the front yard so that was a surprise.  As summer progressed, I watched it bore fruits; the one in the front bore green fruit and the one in the back bore bluish-colored fruit.  From the look of it, one must be blue kuri squash and the other one was kabocha squash.  When my parents came back home, we waited until the stems became corky and the shape went blocky.  My dad loves it plain, steamed, and would eat it with a spoon.  I baked my share until soft and divided the flesh into several freezer bags.  These can be frozen for 3 months.

And here's one way to use up the squash, I made a quick bread with dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cranberries.  I adapted the original recipe by using all-purpose flour instead of wheat flour because that's what I had at home at the time.  This won't last long in my house, everyone would eat slice upon slice with a drink of their choice!

Butternut Squash Bread with Dark Chocolate and Walnuts

Yield 1-9x5 inch loaf

2 eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
7.5 ounces peeled, seeded, steamed and pureed kabocha squash
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purposed flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 generous teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts, plus extra for decorating top
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 F.  Coat a bread loaf pan with coconut oil or butter, or spray with vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugars, cooked/pureed kabocha squash flesh, and oil until smooth.  In a second bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips, walnuts, and cranberries.

Fill the prepared loaf pan about three-quarters full with batter.  Gently tap the bottom of the filled pan on the counter a few times to release air bubbles.  Sprinkle additional walnuts over loaf, using your hand to gently press them into the batter.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into thick chunks.

Source:  adapted from Breadtopia

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