It’s been a minute I know. I’m sorry.
I think this little two week break is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts since I started this whole adventure. I promise that I have a very good reason for for my little hiatus.
I’ve been working on giving my kitchen a little facelift. I told you a few weeks ago that I wanted to change a few things in there, and your comments and encouragement gave me the strength to take action on a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years but never did. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but rest assured things are looking rather different in there.
I’ve still got a bit of work to do, but I hope to be able to give you a peek at the progress in a week or two. Right now though, the kitchen is a total mess, and Russell and I have been surviving on delivery pizzas, tacos, and Thai food. I really can’t wait to get back in there and start cooking again, and get back into the swing of things over here too.
Luckily, I had the foresight to make one last treat before the disarray began. I’ve been so distracted over the past few weeks though, that it’a just taken me this long to get around to posting the recipe.
This cold weather has me craving some homey comforting sweet bread, with a healthy dose of warm spice. At first I was thinking about making pumpkin bread, but on a whim I decided to try it with butternut squash instead. Butternut squash, roasted and pureed, has much the same texture as pureed pumpkin, but has a brighter, fresher, sweeter flavor.
To compliment that brightness and sweetness, I added a bit of fresh orange zest to the recipe. I kept the cinnamon in the recipe for the traditional warmth, but in place of nutmeg I substituted a bit of ground ginger and clove to compliment the citrus. Then I topped the whole thing with a thick orange glaze.
This loaf is incredibly moist and tender, with a wonderfully homey and satisfying flavor. It’s such a fun yet familiar twist on traditional pumpkin bread. The warm spice is perfectly suited to the flavor of the earthy roasted butternut squash, and the orange zest adds a lovely touch of brightness. The bread itself is so perfect on it’s own that it doesn’t even really need the glaze, and would be just as good with a simple swipe of soft unsalted butter.
I added the glaze to boost the citrus flavor, but I have to admit that I found it just a bit too sweet for my taste. My sweet tooth just prefers something a bit more subtle. If you think you’re like me and might prefer a more refined sweetness, you could skip the glaze altogether if you like. You could also try using less sugar to make a thinner glaze, or even try a cream cheese icing instead. If you like a nice dessert-like sweetness though, just make the glaze as is. Either way, a slice of bread will be heaven with your morning coffee or perfect as a treat at the end of the day.
Orange Glazed Roasted Butternut Squash Bread
1 small to medium butternut squash
2 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Rub flesh with oil and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until soft when pushed with a finger. Cool until cool enough to handle.
Peel the skin off the outside of the squash, and puree the flesh in a blender or food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender.
Measure out 2 cups of puree and save the rest for another use, or feed it to your dogs.
Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pans.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, and spices in a bowl. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together sugar, melted butter, and squash puree. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Fold squash mixture into flour mixture until combined.
Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for about 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.
Once the loaves are cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and free of lumps. Pour over the loaves and smooth the top. Let the glaze set for a bit before slicing.