Spiced Butternut Squash Bread

I’m pretty certain that a lot of us have driven new creations in the kitchen based on one pantry or door-of-the-fridge ingredient that we bought once upon a time for one recipe and haven’t used it since. Pumpkin Pie Spice. This little bugger. Sassy step-sister to the canister of Poultry Seasoning we all buy every Thanksgiving because we are at the grocery store and have no certain recollection that last year’s bottle still exists in the spice cubby. Lo and behold, though, last year’s bottle does exist in said spice cubby and after using 1 teaspoon of it for a recipe, it sits lone until the next Thanksgiving go round.

This recipe brings Pumpkin Pie Spice out of her tragic, little crying corner in your kitchen to be used all Fall and Winter long. Side note, did you know that when stored in a cool place, butternut squash can last for up to 3 months? All the more reason to make this bread countless times.

Butternut squash is puréed and transformed into a batter, moistened perfectly with coconut oil and a few other classic quick bread ingredients. Because I’m queen of sweet but not-too-sweet, this recipe follows suit and is just lightly touched with sweet by way of a small amount of brown and white sugars.

The only messed up thing about the plan to use all that Pumpkin Pie spice is that next Thanksgiving, when you go to the grocery store and announce to yourself that you’re sure you have some left at home–you may be wrong.

Spiced Butternut Squash Bread
Yields 1
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (peeled, seeds & insides removed)
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  5. 1/2 cup white sugar
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  7. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° fahrenheit. Grease your loaf pan with cooking spray--I love using coconut oil cooking spray to grease my pans but feel free to use the spray you like best or the one you have on hand.
  2. Steam & purée the butternut squash. Place butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl with the water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 8 minutes. Drain and place steamed squash into food processor to purée until smooth.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl and using an electric or standing mixer, combine squash purée, eggs, coconut oil, white sugar, and brown sugar on low speed.
  4. Finish the batter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add in the pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and kosher salt. Slowly add in the flour, scraping down sides of the bowl periodically. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Bake the bread. Pour batter into your greased loaf pan and place into the pre-heated oven, on the center rack. Bake 45 minutes and begin to check bread for doneness by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean (and not covered in batter.) If toothpick does not come out clean, continue to bake, checking for doneness in 5 minute intervals.
  6. Cool bread. Remove bread from loaf pan and allow to cool before slicing.
One Happy Place http://www.onehappyplace.com/

Fresh Cranberry & Orange Muffins

When it comes to desserts, most of you know that I’m not exactly overwhelmed with a childlike glee. However, when the occasion does strike for a dessert around these parts, it’s typically accompanied by adjectives such as “not-too-sweet” or “just sweet enough.” But it’s my opinion that whether or not you clamor for desserts most of the year, when the Christmas tree is lit and it’s cold enough that you do that awkward thing where you pull your shirt up to cover the tip of your nose, it’s almost a requirement to bake something a little sweet.

These muffins satisfy the not-too-sweet requirement by bringing fresh cranberries into the mix. As we all know, fresh cranberries are quite tart. However, when they are surrounded by the coconut sugar in this recipe as they bake, they sweeten up just a touch while still maintaining that tart bite cranberries are known for and that gives the muffin the perfect balance. I will tell you the truth (and at Christmas you tell the truth)–sorry, I just watched Love Actually–if you are a fan of the sticky, sugary, frosting-covered, sweetness–these may not be the muffins for you. But if you love balanced tart and sweet flavors together, you’ll beyond adore these.

Fresh Cranberry & Orange Muffins
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 1 cup coconut sugar (can substitute white sugar)
  3. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 egg
  6. 3/4 cup whole milk
  7. 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup fresh whole cranberries
  10. Zest of one small orange
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar in a large bowl
  3. Add the egg, melted butter, milk, and vanilla and stir gently until combined
  4. Add the cranberries and orange zest and mix again, until just combined
  5. Divide batter evenly into a greased 12 muffin tin (I used coconut oil spray--you can use any non-stick cooking spray)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
One Happy Place http://www.onehappyplace.com/

Classic Stuffing in Cast Iron

One more day! I cannot find one thing not perfect about the concept of stuffing. It’s bread that’s been doused in butter and rich stock, then tossed with softened vegetables and fresh herbs, then baked until crispy all over. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I am a Thanksgiving purist. You can keep your andouille sausage and dried fruits out of my stuffing, thank you very much. I define classic stuffing as if the Stove Top box were to magically turn into fresh versions of those ingredients.

Now, for all you food nerds, yes yes yes–I know this is technically called “dressing” because I didn’t make it STUFFED inside of the bird but come on, the picture below is what people associate with the word stuffing. Don’t make me call my dish, dressing.

Okay, how is my recipe any better or any different? The portions of all of these classic ingredients are weighted in a way to result in an extremely moist stuffing and it’s cooked with a method that results in a stuffing with the most crispy edges possible. You don’t want to have a crispy edge that came from a dry piece of bread. If the bread loses its moisture completely in the baking process, it will just continue to harden and become the texture of a super hard crouton. No one wants to break a tooth on Thanksgiving because of the bad kind of “crispy.” Instead, think of the edges of a deep dish pizza–crispy, chewy, and moist, all at the same time. All the while, the center of our stuffing remains almost bread pudding-like.

In order to achieve this glorious contrast of textures, I make my stuffing in a cast iron skillet. It reaches an amazing high heat yet allows the food to cook evenly throughout because it holds such consistent temperature as it bakes and gets no hot or cold spots. And besides, nothing looks cooler when cooking than if its in a cast iron skillet. Of course, you can go sans cast iron and make this dish in a classic baking dish but I might give you a touch of side eye, if you do. Just kidding. Click through below for the full recipe! 

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