These “brownies” first came to my attention from Deliciously Ella and then the paleo crew. I wasn’t sold initially, clearly. “Pfffft”, I said. “I’ll save my sweet potato for abundance bowls, thank you very much!” But then one day I had a craving for baking, along with a serendipitous sweet potato and bunch of extra sticky Medjool dates, so I got to steaming and blending and baking and eating. The preparation was incredibly simply and the eating part? Well, it was really, really tasty. Not a true brownie (look to Alice Medrich for those), but really, truly tasty.
I feel like I’m constantly handing Ben and my brother sweet potato brownies from my freezer stash because, man, the dudes love this recipe. I’ve made them quite a few times over the past four months and no matter how I tinkered with the recipe (upping the dry ingredients and cooking time, etc) they remained moist and dense and just not a brownie... In the end I decided to roll with it and accept them for the rich, sweet, gooey slab they are. Those Paleo kids did good here, and this raspberry version is my favourite yet.
You can play around with the ratios and alter them to suit your preferences, sampling the batter before baking and adding more maple/cacao/raspberry to taste. The amount of sweetener required will vary due to differences in your sweet potato and dates. Also, a suggestion – eat these brownies cold. I find them noticeably more delicious compared to when warm from the oven. Fight your cookie instincts and leave them to cool, people! Also, right before serving I like to top them with a sprinkle of bitter cacao powder for a texture and flavour contrast. Or you can slather a blasphemous “ganache” on top, made from greek yoghurt or avocado + raw cacao + maple syrup (ratios to taste).
“Brownies” with “ganache”, I know, I know… but don’t fight it, this is power food, for those afternoons when you need to smash out work. And tomorrow you can make a pie so that you feel less Paleo/more in balance. In fact today I am making a pie! It’s for Friendsgiving with Yasmeen (see last year’s post here). I am so excited I just ran around the room.
Have a great weekend, folks! I hope there are brownies, “brownies” and/or pie in your future.
Sweet Potato and Raspberry Brownies
Adapted from Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies
Makes 10 brownies (depending on how you slice them)
2 small Sweet Potatoes (~280g raw weight)
120g pitted Medjool Dates (~8 large ones)
2 tablespoons Flaxmeal*
1/4 cup water
1 scant cup (~100g) Almond Meal
1/3 cup Raw Cacao
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Raspberries (fresh or defrosted and strained of juice)
* Flaxmeal = ground flaxseeds, from health food shops or the health food aisle in supermarkets. A worthy purchase indeed for added health to recipes. Also, it is used as a vegan binder in baking.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper (you’ll want one that is similar to my 16cm square pan above. If you don’t have that size just use a different pan but adjust the cooking time accordingly).
2. Wash and peel (or leave the skin on) the sweet potato, cut it into chunks then steam for ~20 minutes until soft (cook for a longer/shorter time depending on chunk size, just aim to be able to easily insert a knife through the sweet potato). Allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, mix the flaxmeal and water in a small bowl and allow to sit and gel for ~15 minutes.
4. Pit the dates, weight them to ensure you’ve got ~120g, then add them to the food processor. Add the cooled sweet potato and puree to form a paste.
5. Put the almond meal, cacao and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the gelled flaxmeal and sweet potato/date paste, along with the maple and vanilla and mix everything until well combined. Taste and adjust as desired (more maple/vanilla/cacao etc). Finally fold in the raspberries.
6. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and press down with the back of a spoon or spatula (moistened with water so the mixture doesn’t stick). Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is firm to touch. They will remain be moist, as I mentioned in the post, unless you super overcook them. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before lifting out with the baking paper and cooling on a wire rack (or leave them to cool completely in the pan, I’ve done both methods). Top with a scattering of raw cacao or a ganache, see recipe below.
Quick not-a-proper-but-healthy-and-still-quite-tasty Ganache
1/4 cup thick Greek Yoghurt (something really wonderful and creamy, like Five:AM)
1 tablespoon Raw Cacao (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup (more or less to taste)
Optional: 1/2 an Avocado
Method: add all the ingredients to a food processor or mixing bowl and combined well. Taste and adjust as desired. Chill for a thicker spread.
Alright I’ve offended enough true baking sensibilities for today. Bye! I’m off to make pie.