After the baking marathon fiasco that was last week, the mere sight of a muffin or even a sliver of chocolate, sent me fleeing into a bag of kale. In massive sugar withdrawal, I spent the great portion of this past week eating copious amounts of protein and leafy greens. Part of me, albeit for a brief while, resisted sugar for all that was savory and filling. Even as I type this, my home is fragrant with a hearty bolognese — a cacophony of seared meats cloaked in a red wine tomato sauce — and it’s taking everything in me not to shove my face in the Dutch oven. To say that I have no self control when it comes to food is AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
So when I discovered this recipe on Kristin’s lovely site I was intrigued. Although pumpkin is a mainstay in my fall repertoire, most of my squash recipes are of the savory variety — sauces and roasted chunks tossed in salads or with sausage — and the idea of mixing dark chocolate and squash piqued my interest.
Believe me when I say that you will ADORE THIS LOAF. You will write odes to it, crack off pieces of it and slather it in butter. The sweetness is subtle — the star here is the squash dressed up in autumn aromatics. And there’s something spicy, smoky, earthy and sweet about this loaf; the depth of flavor is what will secure its position in your baking repertoire. And the colors! From the rich terracotta interior to the bark exterior, the loaf is striking.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted from Pastry Affair, with modifications
Yields 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups (about 370 grams) butternut squash puree*
1/4 cup (60 ml) safflower (or grapeseed) oil
1 cup (200 grams) coconut palm sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butternut squash puree, oil, and sugar, mixing until the ingredients combine. Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be fully incorporated into the batter. Pour in the vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa powder with 3 tablespoons hot water until it forms a paste. Add 1/3 of the butternut squash batter and stir until incorporated. Set aside.
In order to achieve a marbled effect, divide the loaf pan into 6 different sections. Pour the orange batter into 3 of the sections and the chocolate batter into the other 3 so that it alternates between the colors. Using a knife or a skewer, swirl the batter back and forth, taking care to not over-mix the batter. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
**To make butternut squash puree, roast a butternut squash in a 400 degree F (205 degrees C) oven for 25 minutes, or until fork tender. Peel the squash and place into a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Drain out any excess moisture. I took the easy route and opted to purchase canned organic squash puree.