Sweet Potato Brownies
Sweet potatoes have long held the rank of my #1 favorite vegetable. They're so versatile, they can be cooked into anything, and they have such a wonderful flavor range of flavors––depending on how you cook them! During my last semester at school, our first few portfolio assignments had words attached to them, that we were supposed to show in our images or use to inspire them. After mid-terms, it was just up to us to shoot images that would fit nicely into our bodies of work. Looking through my hard drive of all the images I'd shot so far the semester, I realized I didn't have any dessert-like foods photographed––except a really ugly photo of cake from my first assignment. I thought that cake photo was so good when I first shot it, I was so proud of it––then, during the last few weeks of school, organizing my portfolio and sequencing it, I really looked at the image again and it was honestly so bad. Like, I don't know what I thought was so good about it, because it was awful. Needless to say, it didn't make it into my book and someonemay or may not have deleted all evidence of the shoot off of their hard drive. Anyway, when I realized I didn't have any sweets photographed yet, I was googling Paleo desserts until I came across a recipe for Pumpkin brownies and not being the biggest fan of pumpkin––also, it being March, I was trying to think of what other odd ingredients could be used in Paleo baking! I settled on sweet potato, because in case I didn't already mention it, I love them. The brownies came out awesome. They were a little less cakey than I'd expected when I made my first batch, but they were almost like fudge, so I threw them in the fridge to work up a version with more flour and less sweet potato––only to realize later on that the fudge-y ones from the fridge were way better than anything else I'd made throughout the day. After photographing them for my assignment, I made two batches of the coconut flour version and brought them to class with me. They were attacked. Like, for real. Not even crumbs left. At least that showed me how good they were! It's difficult sometimes cooking and baking for people who don't follow a Paleo diet, because everything tastes different to people who consume artificial ingredients and sweeteners, so while I know how these taste to a Paleo-er, I usually have to find someone whose not eating the same way to let me know how it tastes to them! Bringing these brownies to class was the ultimate test because I had a whole room full of my classmates along with my professor who all have different tastes, and everyone who tried them went back for a second! Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking, sweet potatoes in brownies? Don't be turned off by the sweet potatoes, they add no real flavor to these brownies, they contribute in texture alone––allowing for the perfect brownie, just between fudge and cake!
Sweet Potato Brownies
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min Total Time: 1 hr 35 min Yield: 12 brownies
1lb sweet potatoes (1 cup mashed––can also substitute with canned pumpkin puree)
1 cup almond flour (or ¼ cup coconut flour for nut free)
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup palm shortening, softened (can substitute 3 tbsp coconut oil)
¼ cup honey (+2 tbsp, if omitting the chocolate chips)
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, optional
*Please note, both versions of these brownies are delicious, but they are slightly different in taste. The flavor of the almond flour version tastes truer to a typical, non-Paleo brownie, whereas the coconut flour version does have a noticeable coconut flavor––which tastes really nice with the chocolate!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a fork, poke a few holes into the top of a sweet potato. Place on an oven rack and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees F.
Submerge sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl full of cold water, let them sit in the water for a minute or two, before peeling the skins (under the water, so you don't burn yourself). Add the peeled sweet potatoes to a food processor and process until smooth like mashed potatoes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, palm shortening (or coconut oil), honey, and vanilla extract, mix on low speed until well combined. Add in the sweet potato and process at a slightly faster speed, then add the chocolate chips in last.
Pour batter into a 8x8 brownie pan lightly greased with palm shortening (or coconut oil). Bake for 35-38 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).
Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing. Slice into 12 evenly sized brownies and enjoy!
*These store best sealed in an airtight container in the fridge––they are also great frozen! Keeping them at a colder temperature, like in the fridge, rather than at room temperature allows these brownies to be more fudge-like, while still maintaining a somewhat cakey consistency.