My collegiate daughter needed a recipe to use up leftover frozen kabocha squash. She found a chocolate kabocha bread recipe, adapted it for ingredients she had on hand, and sent me the recipe. I’m such a proud foodie mom: this is the first recipe she’s sent to me. She had substituted yogurt for the oil, and only had cinnamon as a spice, but really liked the results. She said that it was kind of like hot chocolate in bread form; not too sweet and not too plain. Hot chocolate in bread form? I’m so there.
Today has been cold and a little rainy. My shoes and socks were wet from standing in wet grass trying to coerce my 100-lb tortoise back inside his heated room before he became too cold to move. I had some thawed pink banana squash puree leftover from making pumpkin scones for my son last weekend. It was so squash bread time.
I had all the spices, but I changed them up a little. I added some freshly ground nutmeg in place of some of the cinnamon. Due to conversations with others in my exercise class about eating fresh homegrown fruit with chili pepper and other warming spices sprinkled on them (spring fantasies!) I thought I’d heat up this recipe, too. Before Christmas I purchased some habinero powder at Old Town Spice Merchants in Temecula, and fell in love with their habinero sugar which they sprinkled over samples of dark chocolate brownies. I added some habinero powder to this recipe and it is fantastic.
The loaf took an hour and five minutes to bake. It was slightly crispy on the crust and dense, moist and dark on the inside. Yet it wasn’t cloyingly heavy or too wet. The cocoa flavor was satisfying; too often cocoa recipes taste as if the chocolate was just a coloring rather than a flavoring. This was good. The spices were just enough and not overpowering. The habinero powder was just right, making just a little heat in the mouth that really accented the chocolate flavor and warmed me up from the inside. I am freezing the rest of it, just so I don’t eat any more today. It was really wonderful, and it had vegetable in it, too! Thanks, daughter of mine!
I’m sure you could eat this with cream cheese, marscapone cheese, or dust it with powedered sugar, but it doesn’t need anything. Not even, apparently in my case, a fork or plate. So much for dieting today.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon habinero powder (or ¼ teaspoon if you like it spicier. It will be a slow warm heat in your mouth)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil or plain yogurt
- 1 cup squash or pumpkin puree (or plain canned pumpkin)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and lightly flour an 8½ x 4½ inch loafpan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl combine the oil, puree and egg until well combined. Beat in dry ingredients until well blended. (If using electric mixer, beat on low speed. You don't want a lot of air in the batter).
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake 350 degrees F for 1 hour and five minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes then cut around loaf and turn out onto a plate or wire rack.
- Serve warm, or any way you'd like to!
- (Options: serve with cream cheese, marscapone cheese, or dust with powdered sugar. It is also great drizzled with chocolate frosting (what isn't?) or with chocolate ganache. Both recipes can be found on my blogpost on Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake).