Holiday menus usually include plenty of cornbread. Some cornbreads are actually cakes with higher sugar content and a soft buttery texture. This Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread version isn’t the usual corn cake mix.
It’s subtly sweetened with wholewheat flour tossed into the unbleached white flour and ground yellow cornmeal mix for a healthier taste. Instead of white sugar, butternut squash puree adds a healthy dose of sweetness. The addition of maple syrup slightly increases the sweetness of the batter, but it enriches flavor. The taste is coarser compared to corn cake versions, but it still has a soft texture.
This coarser texture cornbread could be used as a base for other holiday recipes, such as stuffing. When it comes to classic cornbread mixes, skip them in flavor of this healthier version.
Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread
- 1-cup butternut squash puree (substitute any winter squash or sweet potato)*
- 4 large organic eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1-1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4-cup Grade A, dark maple syrup (use real maple syrup from Northeast United States or Canada)
- 2-1/3 cup yellow ground cornmeal
- 1/2-cup unbleached white flour
- 1/2-cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2-cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2-cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1 tbsp. soft butter for greasing a 10-in. black skillet or an 8x8x2-inch baking dish
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-in. black skillet or an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together squash puree, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and maple syrup.
- Add cornmeal, white flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl of food processor. Lightly process dry ingredients to just blend. Add the butter and pulse until the dry ingredients have a crumbly texture.
- Give the wet ingredients a quick whisk. Add the dry ingredients and walnuts to the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just incorporated.
- Pour batter into a skillet or baking dish, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Bake for 45 to 55 min. or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool before cutting.
*How to puree butternut squash:
Method 1: Using a vegetable peeler, vertically peel and discard the skin. Cut and discard the stem ends. Cut the butternut squash horizontally in half. Then cut the bottom, fatter end vertically in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp (or rinse them clean, pat dry and toast with sea salt for a light snack). Dice both halves of the butternut squash. Place 2 to 3 cups of diced squash in a medium saucepan. Reserve the rest for another recipe. Fill the saucepan until the squash is covered with water. Generously add sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. When the vegetables are soft and mash easily with fork, drain over a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside to let cool. When cool, add to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Use 1 cup of puree for this recipe, save the rest for another recipe (leftover puree freezes well; defrost before using).
Method 2: Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, carefully and vertically cut butternut squash in half. Remove the seeds and pulp (or rinse them clean, pat dry and toast with sea salt for a light snack). Generously brush the flesh side (including the cavity) of the butternut squash halves with olive oil and season with sea salt. Place butternut squash halves on a foil lined baking sheet, flesh side down. Place baking sheet in the oven, and roast for at least one hour or until the squash is soft when squeezed. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in a food processor to puree until smooth. Reserve one cup for the above recipe and use the rest for another recipe.
Method 3: Use canned squash or sweet potato puree.