acorn squash bread

This bread is tricky.  It’s weaseled its way into my kitchen, not once, but twice this week.  Round one, we munched it with mugs of hot tea.  Round two, we griddled it and served the warm toasted pieces with vanilla ice cream.  Either way it was seriously one of my favorite things I’ve eaten this fall.  Squash, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg will leave your kitchen smelling just as it should this time of year. 

The recipe here is one I got from my mom and dad, and who I believe got it from a Gourmet magazine years ago.  I digressed very little from the original save for the squash itself, substituting acorn for the pumpkin, as that’s what I had on hand.  Really any winter squash works well here.  This particular recipe I think, unlike custards and pies, tolerates pumpkin in all its watery glory quite well.  I remember my mom and dad roasting off a few pumpkins each fall, pureeing them up and freezing the pulp for winter time.  Lot’s of that labor ended up in this tasty bread. 

My parents make this bread plain – no nuts or fruit – just pure fall glory.  I usually throw in a few of whatever nuts I have in the pantry, and sometimes, to John’s dismay, fresh or dried cranberries. 

Anyway you work it, this recipe makes 1 loaf and serves 6 normal people or 2 very greedy people.  It doubles well and can be frozen.  Plainly sliced on the thanksgiving table, or in griddled and ice cream topped form as dessert, this would be a welcome addition to any holiday meal.

The jack-o-lantern is the one I carved in a hurry Halloween night after work.  Five bags of candy and I ran out just before 7:00.  Nuts.

For the Bread

1 small-medium acorn squash

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground clove

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup chopped pecans or hazelnuts (optional)

Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking tray and fill the tray with ½ an inch of water.  Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is very tender.  Remove from the oven a cool.  Once cool, scoop the squash from its skin and puree in a food processor until smooth.  Reserve 1 cup squash puree for the recipe and save any leftover for another use – you can eat it simply for dinner warmed with a little butter, salt, and pepper.  (My medium sized acorn squash yielded about 1 ½ cups puree.) 

In a medium size bowl, combine the 1 cup squash puree, the sugar, the oil, and the eggs.  Mix well.  Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add this to the squash mixture and mix until no lumps are visible.  Fold in the nuts if using. 

Butter and flour a loaf tin, and scoop the batter into the prepared tin.  Sprinkle the top of the loaf generously with coarse sugar.  Bake for 45-55 minutes until set.  A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.  Cool, slice, and munch! 

Recipe Note:  If you want to go a little more American here, this recipe is pretty killer topped with cream cheese frosting.  Omit the coarse sugar sprinkle, and instead whip together: 5 oz softened cream cheese and 3 tbsp softened unsalted butter.  Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tbsp maple syrup and whip smooth.  Let the loaf cool completely and then frost it. 

  1. sweet

  2. Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  3. cool

  4. Mine came out underdone in the center, but I was afraid it would dry out on the edges so I pulled it out of the oven anyway. I used coconut oil, but other than that the same recipe. No problem what-so-ever though. The outer slices were cooked perfectly and then I warmed the slightly gooey slices in a frypan (which further cooked the gooey part) and served with vanilla ice cream and it was insanely good that way!

  5. This sounds like a simple and fantastic recipe. I will try this tonight. Mmmmm…

  6. p.s. Mom2 – I love the sound of the coconut oil! Glad the recipe worked for you!

  7. I made this today and it was SO good! I served it buttered with mugs of hot cocoa – so cozy!

    • Sounds absolutely perfect! At frist, I read this as “I served it with buttered mugs of hot cocoa,” which sounded weirdly good…ha ha, oops! Thanks for the comment.

  8. Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful recipe. I made it with butternut squash from my CSA and everyone raved over it. I have already been asked for repeat loaves. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  9. haha for 2 very greedy people…

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  13. This is an amazing bread all my vegan friends loved it, but instead of eggs I used apple sauce.

    • Thanks for the comment! I’ll have to give the apple sauce a try – I’m always on the look out for good vegan recipes.

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  15. Watch the cooking time! I didn’t have toothpicks to test with, so I just trusted the cooking time here. Big mistake! When I flipped it over to get it out of the pan, the apparently cooked loaf exploded batter everywhere. Sad face.

    • Emily – I’m so sorry! Did you bake the full 55 minutes @ 350? Ovens definitely vary a little, but I’m surprised it would have been that raw? I often just use a small paring knife to test cakes if I don’t have a toothpick handy, especially if I’m not sure. There’s also the “shake” method – I give the pan a gentle shake and look for any sign of wiggle – a set cake shouldn’t move at all.

  16. Made this, with some adaptations (added flax meal and some whole wheat flour, reduced sugar). It is delicious! I frosted it, with the agenda of appealing to my kids, and it totally worked. Posted a pic of it on Facebook, and my friends are asking for the recipe. Expect more traffic! Thanks for a winning treat!

    • Oh, sounds delicious. What did you use for frosting? Since making this banana bread, I’ve been putting cinnamon sugar on everything – bet it would be delicious here also. Thanks for the comment!

  17. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I received an acorn squash bread and had no idea what to do with it. I found your blog and am so glad I made your recipe. My husband ate this non-stop until it was all gone! I’ve linked back to you here:

  18. Hi,
    I love the recipe too! I also had the same trouble with it being raw in the center. I turned the temp. down to 325 and cooked an additional 10 -15 mins. I think when I make it again, I will start out the first 15 minutes at 350 then turn it down to 325 to cook it all the way through. Seems like this bread needs to cook slower. I also used Turbinado sugar. Loved it : ) Thanks again for your post!

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