Brownies are an irresistible food at any age, but the typically chocolatey, sugar-laden treats can only be an occasional indulgence... until now. These sweet potato brownies are sweetened with dates and a touch of maple syrup -- so you can bake and serve them often as a dessert or snack. I served the brownies at a recent barbecue, and they were happily snapped up by kids and adults, all of whom were surprised to know that sweet potatoes were the not-so-secret ingredient. Since some people prefer a gooey brownie, while others go for a cake-y version, please adjust your cooking time accordingly. Read on for a healthy and delicious sweet treat!
1. Gather the ingredients.
- 1 large sweet potato (the original recipe calls for 600 grams or about 1.3 pounds. My large sweet potato fit this description almost exactly)
- 12-14 dates, depending on their size
- 2 1/2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2/3 cup almond meal (Note if grinding the almonds yourself: I ground 2/3 cup almonds in the Vitamix, and it yielded slightly more than 2/3 cup almond meal)
- 1/4 cup ground cocoa
- 1/2 cup buckwheat or brown rice flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- a little more cocoa, whipped cream, or fresh fruit for topping (optional)
2. Soften the dates.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pit dates and place in a heat-proof bowl. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and then pour over the dates. Let sit while you are steaming the sweet potatoes. This step makes it easier to blend/process the dates. If your dates are super fresh and soft, you can skip this step. Drain just before adding to the food processor.
3. Steam the sweet potatoes.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small chunks and steam for 15-20 minutes, until the pieces can be broken up with a fork.
4. Make the date-sweet potato mixture.
Carefully add the sweet potatoes and dates to the bowl of a food processor. Add the maple syrup and process until smooth.
5. Make the batter.
In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients (almond meal, cocoa, buckwheat or brown rice flour (or a combo), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt). Dump the sweet potato and date mixture and mix until the ingredients are well-combined.
6. Bake the brownies.
Line a pan (mine was 11 inches by 7 1/2 inches) with parchment paper to make brownie removal easier. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-28 minutes, depending on how gooey you want your brownies. After 20 minutes, check the brownies every few minutes so they don’t burn. They will firm up after you take them out as well. A good way to bake up more cake-like brownies is to prick them using a fork, chopstick, or toothpick — if it comes out mainly dry, they are done. We cooked ours for about 25 minutes, and they had a nice, firm but still slightly gooey-on-the-inside texture.
7. Let cool then cut.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool at least 15 minutes, but preferably an hour. Cut the brownies into desired sizes.
Serve plain, dusted with a little cocoa powder, topped with whipped cream or strawberries. Enjoy!