This bread reminds me of the Colorado sunshine that I adore so much- warm, bright, and comforting.

The original recipe calls for pumpkin puree, but I had some butternut squash puree on hand and decided to use that. I contemplated throwing some traditional spices in, but settled on letting the round notes of the butternut squash take the spotlight, accented with some vanilla.

You can make your own butternut squash puree by peeling one squash, cutting it into chunks, drizzling with a little butter, and roasting in a foil-covered pan until the squash is nearly falling apart. Puree in a blender.

I like this recipe because the bread is not too oily or greasy. It is moist, tender, and easy to slice away at all morning.

Enjoy with some peppermint tea and a spot by the window in the sun.

Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Quick Bread (adapted from Mastering the Art and Craft of Baking and Pastry by the Culinary Institute of America)

5.8 oz butternut squash puree
8 oz sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 oz water

In a mixing bowl, beat the butternut squash puree, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla until combined. Add the grapeseed oil, mix well. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Add to the squash mixture until just combined. Beat in the water and pour batter into a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 360 F for about 40 minutes, until the top is firm and the edges are golden brown.

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