It’s that time of year again.  The time when everything is “pumpkin spice” this or that.  I love pumpkin goodies, but in the spirit of being different, I made this gorgeous Butternut Spice bread.  Butternut is a winter squash just like pumpkin is, so why not?

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Butternut, pumpkin, and other squashes have colossal health benefits that you wouldn’t guess just by looking at them.  After all, squashes aren’t the prettiest produce in the farmer’s market, but they certainly are versatile.  And since my market carries organic canned butternut squash, I decided to take advantage of this marvelous convenience and make this beautiful quick-bread.

Here’s all you need:

  • 3 cups soft whole-wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sweetener of your choice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic butternut squash puree, (15 oz can, pumpkin will also work fine)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, mixed with 3 Tbs water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh is best, but commercial is ok too)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil-spray two 8 x 4 loaf pans.
  • Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then stir wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  • Stir cranberries or raisins into dry mixture.
  • Mix wet ingredients into dry with a rubber spoon, just until no dry is visible.
  • Spread evenly in the two pans, then sprinkle tops with optional chopped nuts.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick stuck into center comes out dry (mine takes 42 minutes).

Once your quick-breads are done, remove them from your oven and set on a cooling rack for 3-5 minutes to cool a little.  Then turn them out of the pans and let them cool completely.   You can either enjoy them over the next couple of days (should stay fresh loosely covered on your counter for this long, or another couple of days in your fridge), or you can do like I do and freeze them.

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To freeze your loaves I suggest slicing them into 8 slices each, place small pieces of waxed paper between the slices, then slip the loaves into a zippered freezer bag.  With the waxed paper in place, the slices won’t stick together and you can enjoy one slice at a time.  In all honesty, this is how I keep from consuming the entire loaf in one day!  Yes my friends, it really is that good.