Buttercup bread with walnuts & candied ginger

There is nothing better than this time of year. The temperature has dropped, the nights are longer, and you know that the holidays are just around the corner. While summer is a great time of year, Autumn is a great time to spend in the kitchen. It's not too hot to bake and there are a bunch of fun new fruit to play with.

I have always loved it when winter squash becomes available at the grocery store. They come in all different interesting shapes, colors and sizes. It almost felt like going to an exhibit rather than the grocer.
But the funny thing is I always stuck to just cooking with two kinds-butternut and pumpkin.

I decided that this fall I had to broaden my horizons, and rather than just marveling at the funky shape of the turban squash, or the strange color of the hubbard squash, i am going to learn about it's flavor as well.

And I am starting with buttercup. Buttercup squash is one of the sweetest of the squash family. It's small in size so it is not too difficult to cut into, and the flesh is slightly soft, making it easy to scoop out the seeds. And, it's pretty cute too.

For my first trial with the buttercup i decided to make a sweet buttercup bread. The nice thing about this recipe is that the sweetness of the squash makes it so you do not need too much sugar in the recipe, and I cut that sweetness with a bit of zing from the ginger. It was a hit, even with the little ones (and wee little ones ) and did not last long on the table!


Buttercup squash bread with walnuts & candied ginger
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 buttercup squash
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, dot the cut side with butter, and roast in a prepared pan for 30-45 minutes, until the flesh can easily be pierced with a fork. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl, and purree until smooth. Allow to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Butter and flour it.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves & cardamom. Whisk together until well integrated.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars at medium speed until the consistency is light and fluffy. This generally takes about 5-6 minutes.
Add the eggs, one by one, mixing between each addition. Then the vanilla and one cup of the purreed buttercup squash. Mix in the flour mixture and stir in the walnuts and ginger.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45minutes to an hour. Be sure to check on the loaf half way through and turn it 180 degrees. The loaf is finished when golden brown, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. It is delicious plain still warm from the oven, or topped with a cream cheese frosting.