Sponsored Post: Secret Spicy Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Bread is one of the very first things I learned how to make. The idea of it is so simple: mix a can of pumpkin with some sugar and some eggs, add some flour, lots of spices (I went heavy on the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the cloves), and pour into a greased loaf pan. An hour later your apartment smells like the greatest seasonal candle ever invented, only better than a candle because you can eat it. No wonder I made pumpkin bread so often. Now that I’m a mature statesman of gastronomy (ahem) I thought I would elevate my pumpkin bread game by changing one of the components in a major way; a way that contains a major secret.

The secret? This isn’t really pumpkin bread; it’s butternut squash bread! That just doesn’t sound as good (Nancy Silverton feels the same way and makes her “pumpkin bread” with yams). But I realized if I roasted my own butternut squash, and I mean really roast it (just to the edge of burnt), it would add so much more flavor to the finished product. Look how dark I got this squash:

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I told you: this is serious stuff.

The rest is super simple, especially with my Vitamix S30. Check it out; you scoop the cooked squash into there and blend:

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Voila!

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The rest was as easy as I mentioned at the beginning: into a bowl, white sugar, brown sugar, an egg, an egg yolk (this is a Nancy DeMasco recipe and she’s a big fan of just using a singular egg yolk in your baking):

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Then the squash puree, sour cream (mmm), and vanilla:

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Finally, your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and lots of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg:

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Pour that into a buttered loaf pan and bake at 350 for an hour and you have the very best homemade holiday gift you can imagine:

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I wish you could scratch and sniff your screen to experience this: it’s that divine.

And though we weren’t entertaining the night I made this, Craig was trimming our Christmas tree; so I cut him a slice and he was most appreciative:

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So treat yourself and your loved ones this holiday season to some Secret Spicy Pumpkin Bread. When they ask “what makes it taste so good?” just say, “That’s a secret…that you can easily find on a food blog called The Amateur Gourmet.” They’ll probably nod and back away slowly; and that’s all for the best.

Recipe: Secret Spicy Pumpkin Bread

Summary: Adapted from Karen DeMasco’s The Craft of Baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • Grapeseed oil (a splash for the squash, 1/2 cup for the bread)
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature (for the pan)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and rub all over with a splash of grapeseed oil. Place cut-side down on a cookie sheet and roast until deep dark brown and cooked-through, about 45 minutes. (Check after 30 minutes to make sure the squash isn’t getting too dark; if it is, flip it over and finish it that way.) You’ll know it’s done when a knife goes through really easily.
  3. Allow the squash to cool then scoop out the cooked flesh and place in a blender. Blend until you have a homogenous puree; set aside 3/4 cup and reserve the rest for another recipe (like soup!).
  4. Lower the oven to 350.
  5. Line the bottom of an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the bottom and sides with the softened butter (about 1 tablespoon).
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, egg yolk, and the 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil. Add the 3/4 cup squash puree, sour cream, and vanilla and whisk to combine. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Then whisk together gently to just combine.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the Demerara sugar.
  8. Bake, rotating the pan once, until the bread is firm to the touch, well browned, and slightly cracked on top, about 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Then turn out the loaf onto the rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

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