Mariel here. Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me, the calendar change came and went with little fanfare: I ate an entire cheese plate, my husband and I belatedly cut into our wedding day cake topper (and didn’t get sick from eating it!), and then I lay on the couch struggling to keep my peepers open long enough to watch NKOTB, Ryan Seacrest and Ke$ha awkwardly attempt to try and find common ground before the ball dropped. So lame. So delightful. I made ZERO resolutions – that’s not to say I’m already perfect – but instead I opted to ask the universe for one simple favor: to have a better year than last.
On New Year’s Day, I got bored – I’m house-sitting in a quiet little beach town that’s positively comatose during the winter – so with no shops open and hardly a soul in sight, I decided to whip up something sweet to stave off any Kubrickian inclinations to re-enact The Shining. Although I personally didn’t make any Biggest Loser resolutions, I was mindful of the “have-tos,” “want-tos” and “need-tos” of my fellow diners, so I concocted a snack that could be deemed either a low-cal dessert or an indulgent breakfast, depending on how you look at things.
Thanks to a surplus of over-ripe butternut squash and an inexplicable amount of unsweetened applesauce in the cupboard, this tasty little gem practically baked itself. It’s a close cousin to Pumpkin Bread and positively addictive. Plus, there’s no oil, no butter, tons of vitamin-packed fruits & veggies, and it relies upon brown – not white – sugar, which I unscientifically consider the whole wheat of refined carbs. I’d go so far as to call this healthy, but don’t yell at me if you eat the whole loaf and blow Resolution Numero Uno.
Butternut Bread with Quick Ginger-Apple Butter
Makes 1 loaf of bread and about 1 pint of ginger-apple butter
Note: While this recipe outlines the “quick” way to make apple butter, if you have the time, there’s nothing quite like making it from scratch, starting with Homemade Applesauce then following the directions below. Just omit the Tablespoon of brown sugar and the 2 Tablespoons of honey (since our Homemade Applesauce recipe is already sweetened) and only add if needed.
Ingredients for the Butternut Bread:
1½ cups butternut squash puree – $3.50
2 eggs – stock
¼-cup low-fat milk – stock
1½ cups brown sugar, packed – stock
1¾ cups all-purpose flour – stock
1 teaspoon baking soda – stock
½ teaspoon salt – stock
2 teaspoons cinnamon – stock
½ teaspoon ground ginger – stock
Ingredients for the Ginger-Apple Butter:
23-oz unsweetened applesauce – $2.49
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated – $0.69
2 Tablespoons of honey – stock
1 Tablespoon brown sugar – stock
½ teaspoon cinnamon – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $6.68
Directions for the Butternut Bread:
1. The easiest, fastest way to make butternut squash puree is to buy the pre-cubed chunks of squash, boil a pot of water and then submerge the squash in water. Cover the lid and boil for about 15 minutes or until the squash is very tender. Then mash using a blender, food processor or potato masher.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5″ loaf pan.
3. Combine the squash puree, milk, brown sugar, and eggs in a large bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, gently whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon until just combined.
5. Slowly add the the flour mixture to the squash mixture a few tablespoons at a time until fully incorporated. Don’t over mix.
6. Pour the dough into your buttered loaf pan and bake for 53-57 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick or tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before attempting to remove from the pan.
Directions for the Ginger-Apple Butter:
1. Saute the fresh ginger in 2 Tablespoons of applesauce over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
2. Add the rest of the applesauce and the remainder of the Ginger-Apple Butter ingredients, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and darkens. Stir frequently to prevent the “butter” from burning. Spread on top of Butternut Bread, Scones, Pumpkin Bread, Date Nut Bread, Pork Chops, French Toast, Whole Wheat Pancakes or anything that could use a little sweetening.