This holiday-themed bread is easy to prepare for a potluck offering and even makes a welcome gift. The winter squash baked into the loaf provides antioxidants and a grounding, calming effect in the body during the dry and dark vata season (the energy of air and space, according to Ayurveda). Cranberries also have a variety of healthy phytonutrients and nuts are vital brain food. Try fulfilling your New Year’s resolution of having only healthy sweets with this recipe.
Yields: 1 large loaf (9 ½ inch by 5 inch)
Pre- Prep Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F
Spray large loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray
2 cups spelt flour
½ cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed winter squash (sugar pumpkin, butternut, or kabocha)
½ cup vegan milk (soy, almond, or ancient grain)
¼ cup safflower or sunflower oil
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon flax meal + ¼ cup water (mixed together)
¾ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon maple sugar (to sprinkle over the top of loaf)
- Remove skin from squash, cut in half, and scrape out seeds. Cut the squash into medium sized chunks. Place squash in medium sized pot with a steamer insert and enough water to steam the squash. Cook until tender. Remove cooked squash from pot and cool before mashing.
- Sift into a large bowl the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- In a medium bowl whisk together cooked squash, milk, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in the flax egg and stir to combine well.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Fold in the chopped pecans and fresh cranberries. Mix to incorporate.
- Fill the loaf pan with the batter then sprinkle the maple sugar over the top.
- Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 50 minutes, rotating the loaf half way through cooking time to ensure even baking.
- Test the center of the loaf with a toothpick; it should come out clean.
- Once loaf is baked, remove from oven and cool in the pan 10 to 15 minutes on a cooling rack before turning it out.