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Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to put pen to paper and release a story from somewhere deep within me. To give the mumbled, uncertain emotions swirling in my head a channel with which to escape. I wanted to release words from my fingertips with as much energy as the release of balloons into a deep blue sky.

Perhaps it may come as a surprise to you, but I've always been a little reserved. My tongue holds my thoughts prisoner, fighting against the rattling brain in my head that is eager to share them with the world. It's a personal, quiet battle I struggle with in slowly conquering that stubborn tongue of mine. In a way, writing has become an outlet to free the thoughts in my head. To give a voice to the words I cannot seem to speak aloud.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Even so, some days I have a love-hate relationship with writing. Writing is hard. More often than not, I end up staring at a blank computer screen when I sit down to write, the blinking of the cursor reminding me how much time is passing, my mind seeming to wipe itself clean. Though I love the process of writing once I begin, the process can be difficult to start. I have been known to avoid writing like it is a chore, pandering myself by visiting webpages or taking care of household business instead, trying to ignore the call of the white blank screen.

Yet, I cannot ignore the call forever. I eventually find myself in front of that same blank screen, discovering the determination to cover it with black ink. The need to write outweighs whatever feelings I may have about it. Perhaps, in many ways, that is the true mark of writer.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Even though I love sharing my thoughts and stories with you, I have always written for myself. I struggle to write for anyone else. When I settle down in front of the computer screen, I must forget that thousands of you may stumble across my words and read them—the thought is enough to stop even the bravest of writers mid-sentence. I can't write while I feel like someone is watching me; I'm afraid that person will read my words and find a way to judge me for them.

Even so, I wonder if I can truly be called a writer. The term is enigmatic, ascribing a certain measure of success and failure. If I am to be called a writer, I like to imagine that any eight year old girl with a head full of ideas and dull pencil in hand can be called by the same name too.

Writer or not, the need to write never changes. I plan on slicing myself another piece of this bread for inspiration when I find myself facing the next blank screen.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread has a subtle sweetness with striking tones of color. Butternut squash meets the classic fall spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—creating a moist and pleasantly dense loaf of bread. A third of the batter is mixed with cocoa before swirling into the rest, creating not only a marbled appearance, but a marbled flavor. The bread works well served with a simple butter spread but, if you are feeling a little adventurous, a bit of chocolate spread certainly wouldn't be amiss.

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Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Yields 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups (about 370 grams) butternut squash puree**
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butternut squash puree, oil, and sugar, mixing until uniform. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa powder with 3 tablespoons hot water until it forms a paste. Add 1/3 of the butternut squash batter and stir until incorporated. Set aside.

In order to achieve a marbled effect, mentally divide the loaf pan into 6 different sections. Pour the orange batter into 3 of the sections and the chocolate batter into the other 3 so that it alternates between the colors. Using a spoon, swirl the batter back and forth, taking care to not over-mix the batter. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

**To make butternut squash puree, roast a butternut squash in a 400 degree F (205 degrees C) oven for 25 minutes, or until fork tender. Peel the squash and place into a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Drain out any excess moisture.

Reader Comments (13)

Spiced breads are one of my favorite fall treats - this looks delicious! I love how you marbled it with cocoa powder - yum!
Hi Kristin. I follow a lot of food blogs and never write comments, but this post really resonated with me, and I want to thank you for it. I am an undergraduate journalism student and have always loved writing. It is the only activity I completely lose myself in once I get started. But I know what you mean about the fear of sharing. When I was little, I kept a diary as a preservation of my life, to show my grandkids when I'm old. It was something like a list of daily activities. Now, my journaling is far more reflective and personal, and I do it for me. Allowing the words to escape from my brain onto paper is such a release, and with no readers to fear, they come so easily. But when I am writing for the local daily paper, I linger over each word, driving myself crazy, because there's a chance someone will judge me for the words I am typing into this white machine. Your words resonated with me today because they felt like my own thoughts. With that, I just want you to know that of all the food blogs on my Google Reader, yours is my favorite. The writing is exquisite, and I rush to open every new post because I cannot wait to see what inspiring quote you have found for today. Your blog makes my life a little brighter, and I appreciate every time you go to your keyboard to tackle the fear.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrace
This is simply lovely. And you are an amazing writer! I don't keep coming back for the's the whole package :)
Kristine, I enjoyed very much this post about the creative process of writing. In a way it's such a lonely occupation that it's nice to hear about how others are coping with it. I am a garden writer (not a writer of fiction) and often wonder why taking pictures for my articles is "fun", postprocessing is OK, and the writing can be such a painful process. But it also gives me much more satisfaction.
And of course, the recipe looks delicious and your pictures are beautiful :-)
11.8.2012 | Unregistered Commentervera@growntocook
I totally agree with Katrina while the recipes are alway's seasonal and inspiring the additional word's make it a joy to check in with your blog:-) I also find it difficult to express myself at times when I have so much up there I can't find the right word's to put those thought's into meaningful speech.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFatema
I know the feeling when it comes to writing. I've never wanted to be a writer, but I do have fun writing blog posts and short stories every now and then. A lot of times I start coming up with great stories and sentences that flow well together in my head, but then when I go to write them down or type everything up I just blank. Sigh. At least you've got this bread to keep you going!
I, too, have a love hate relationship with writing! I love so many aspects of it, but hate how difficult it can be sometimes--especially when you know what you want to say, but don't like how its being expressed. I feel like I am at my best when the idea is more spontaneous than well thought out--it seems to flow more easily.

You're a great writer! And baker...this bread looks amazing :)
Your writing and photography is just beautiful! Your such an inspiration.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
I have written this a million times, and I'm sure you've read something simillar a trillion and one times: your writing is phemoninal. Really, you're words are beautiful. I know what if feels like to want to wrtie, but have nothing come out. It happens to all of us. But I guess when I read something as beautiful as your blog I forget how hard it is to write for many people. I don't know how long it takes you to create these posts, but thank you for taking the time to write them.
Hi Kristin. Loooveee all photos above. The cake looks delish too.
You are absolutely a writer! Just probably a little different than what we usually think of when we hear 'writer.' That's a good thing, though!

I have a large butternut squash sitting on my table just waiting to be whipped into this bread!
I know I'm a bit late, but it's only autumn now in my part of the world. This is absolutely delicious! So wonderfully moist and spicy!
06.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatrin
This cake/bread was a success ! Not too sweet, perfect with a cup of coffee! Next time I'll double the amount of spices, yummy! Great recipe.
10.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterInes

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