How about another game today?
This one’s called Hide The Elf.
I played Hide The Elf all the time as a child during the holidays. But, unfortunately, no matter how nicely I ask, A. won’t play with me.
What? Yes. You best believe there’s a lump of coal under the tree that has his name all over it.
So will you play with me?
Yes! You’re awesome!
Here’s what you’re looking for. Mr. Elf-Man.
All you need to do is find Mr. Elf-Man in each shot included in this post (except the first and last ones) and you win! You win an amazing recipe for some super-delicious Chocolatized Butternut Bread!
And I won’t talk a lot or distract you during this post – I really want you to win.
On your mark… get set… GO!
Uh, is it just me or does he look a little peeved?
So how’d you do? You won? Awesome!
You can collect your prize below.
And oh what a prize it is. Sweet, soft, flavorful bread riddled with crunchy walnuts and topped with a crust of chocolate.
My intention was to allow the chocolate to harden before I cut a slice for myself but, as you can see, I was a little impatient.
And, actually, I think the premature cutting worked out well; the chocolate that had hardened stuck to the sides and top, while some of the still-soft chocolate oozed out over the body of the bread.
Even Mr. Elf-Man approves.
Chocolatized Butternut Bread
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. white sugar, granulated
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)
1/2 tsp. cardamom, ground
1/2 tsp. ginger, ground
2 large eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. butternut squash puree (Please see below for instructions on preparing the squash puree.)
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place walnut pieces on a sheet tray and toast for approximately 5 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Set aside toasted nuts to cool.
To prepare the squash puree, halve it and place it, skin side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the exterior of the squash with tin foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove, unwrap and allow the squash to cool to the touch. Once cool, use a spoon to scoop the softened flesh out – I used a motion similar to one that you would use to scoop or scrape a granita. Depending on the size of your squash, you may find that you can scoop out the top flesh, but some remains too firm to scoop -no sweat- simply remove the soft flesh that you can, flip, rewrap and roast the squash for 20 additional minutes. Please note that this is the technique that I used to prepare my butternut puree but you can definitely choose to go another route such as boiling or even microwaving. Please also note that my squash produced approximately 4 cups of puree so you will likely have approximately 3 cups left over.
Meanwhile, cream the sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add the eggs and continue to beat. Slowly add the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, mixing until just blended. Continue beating and add in the buttermilk and squash puree. The mixer will break the squash up from larger to smaller chunks, but some chunks might remain throughout and that’s ok. Fold in the walnuts.
Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with the cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes. The finished bread will be puffed and golden on top. Allow the bread to cool for approximately 10 minutes before unmolding.
Meanwhile, temper your chocolate chips in two separate bowls. I went the super-lazy route and melted my chips in the microwave, cooking each bowl for 1 minute and 30 seconds at 70% power (stop and stir after each 30 second interval).
Once your chocolate is melted and your bread unmolded, place the loaf on a piece of parchment paper and prepare to drizzle. There is no real science to this and, if you’re anything like me, you may make a mess. Elf-Men may get dirty. That’s OK! I would recommend just starting with half of the white chocolate, drizzling the milk chocolate on top of that, and then finishing with the remaining white chocolate. Slice, serve or store for up to one week covered.
YIELD: 1- 9″ x 5″ loaf