Last year I grew a wide variety of winter squash that were amazing for eating with dinner. I also tried three new varieties of winter squash to use for baking. I planted the seeds late in the year, but I still managed to get more than enough squash to play with. I grew three different squash, all from seed from Territorial Seed Company: Long Island Cheese, Galeux d'Eysines, and Sweet Meat. I ended up with a nice assortment of squash to try out this year, including three nice sized Sweet Meat squash
and one Galeux d'Eysines and three Long Island Cheese squash.
Although they probably would have kept in storage for quite a while this winter, I knew if I didn't do something with them before Goober gets here that I never would. So I spent the better part of Christmas eve roasting them and running them through a food mill to puree them. I put 4 cups of puree in freezer bags and threw them in the freezer for later. I lost count along the way, but I got somewhere near 32 cups of puree from all of these. I probably could have gotten more out of them, but I left plenty on the skins for a nice snack for the chickens.
I saved a little bit of puree from each squash for a taste test. In terms of the plain, untouched flavor, the husband and I ranked the Long Island Cheese as the best flavor, followed by the Sweet Meat and the Galeux d'Eysines.
Because I only had one medium sized Galeux d'Eysines, I put this puree into the fridge for a yet-to-be determined baking project. As it turns out, I got the first Baked cookbook for Christmas (yay!), so it seemed like fate when I opened the book and the first recipe I saw was for a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf (which was highly recommended by a blog reader in a previous post). So this weekend I used the puree to make four loaves of this bad boy.
This morning I polished off the last bit of the first loaf, I sent one loaf to work with the husband, and I put the other two in the freezer, though I'm now thinking that was a mistake and I should have kept another one out to eat now! This is an awesome recipe and so, so easy to make.
3 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (or one 15-oz can)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup room temperature water
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans and dust with flour. (Note: Make sure you grease and flour your pans very, very well. The first batch I made I used the Pam baking spray and had problems with the bottom of the loaves sticking to the pan. For the second batch, I greased and floured them really well. One turned out great, but the other one still stuck a bit. See other note below about the chocolate chips!)
2. In a medium bowl, whish together all of the dry ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and oil. Add sugar. Whisk eggs in, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Add the water and whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips. (Note: The first time I made this I used the chocolate chips I had on hand, which were huge. The batter isn't very thick, so most of the chips promptly sank to the bottom once placed in the oven. This probably had a lot to do with the problems of the bottom of the loaf sticking. For the second batch I made, I bought normal sized chips and tried to take extra care to make sure that they were well distributed in the batter, and I also added another 1/4 cup flour to help thicken the batter. [I also took the liberty of adding some chopped pecans just because...] It seemed to help, but quite a few of the chips still ended up at the bottom. Next time I'll probably try using mini chips and see if that helps.)
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix.
5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
6. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time.
7. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert loaves and cool.
Although this recipe is listed in the Breakfast section of the cookbook (yeah, baby!), the husband and I have had no problem snarfing this down at any time of the day. Enjoy!