(Pretty) Healthy sweet potato brownies

sw_potato_browniesThe making of these brownies is a circle story. Not a poignant, reflective sort, like the serene and flowing journey of the seasons. More like (for my fellow children's book lovers and readers) a Laura Numeroff style whilrwind, arriving at the start to conclude, with a whole bunch of silliness in between. It may sound pointless on the surface, but it's been fun. First, there were these brownies from Paleo OMG, made true to the recipe, and OMG! They were GOOD. Healthy enough to share with Little Monkey, minus most of the chocolate chips...and even without any chocolate chips they were still good...though to be totally frank, the chips do make a BIG difference...only Little Monkey doesn't yet get chocolate. He's enamored with cocoa alone, and we're not ready to unleash any choco-monsters quite yet.

I could have stopped there. There was no need to wander, but despite holiday temptations I've been drawn to keeping as sugar free as possible most of the time, including natural but processed sweeteners like honey. The idea alone feels cleansing.

Aiming for no oil and no sugar, version two swapped coconut oil for applesauce and left out the honey. They turned out more than passably ok...even worthy of "really good". Only they were no longer brownies. They were more like pumpkin pie bars, and they looked like this:

sweet potato brownies_lightest

Thinking three may be a charm (and craving brownies), the next trial was oil free, nut free, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, and subbed in pumpkin for sweet potato because that's what I had at the time. They used brown rice flour, coconut flour, eggs, banana, oats, dark cocoa powder, pumpkin and raisins, and they looked like they could taste rather rich:

pumpkin brownie

Unfortunately, they tasted "not good" according to Dave, and "kind of meh" according to me, even straight from the oven, when warm chocolatey things melt in your mouth and can sometimes be deceiving. They may even have been better if they'd been taste free in addition to all the other "frees". Instead, the taste was borderline unpleasant enough I won't include the recipe, though it is tempting. Tempting because Little Monkey took one, then two, then three, four, and MORE bites, and his face in response looked like this:

brownie face

By now, the brownie battles were becoming exhausting and a little tedious. Also, loitering in the background was the quiet knowledge that version one truly was OMG good, and good-for-you enough that it was undeserving of complaint. So we find ourselves (just about) back to the start.

brownie reachI almost made the original brownies again. I'm working on serenity however, and accept that one thing I most likely cannot change is my proclivity when making version one to eating most of the pan frustratingly fast. Since the point of lightening up/adding nutrition to sweets is not to welcome a thousand or so extra calories in a sitting, I had to make a tweak or two for my happy ending. That meant a little extra unsweetened cocoa powder, a smidgeon less coconut oil, fewer chocolate chips (dark only), extra sweet potato, less honey. The results are slightly more cakey (but meltaway) and less brownie-gooey than the original, but scrumptious all the same. And if there's a small sacrifice in decadent taste, it's worth the added bonus of NOT devouring the entire pan. Willpower stands a chance.

Not that these brownies need any more brownie points (as if!)... but cutting back on the chocolate this much means I can strategically plan chip-less portions of the pan and share all the more with Little Monkey. Yep--priceless.

Happy New Year! :)

 Sweet potato brownies

  • 1 - 1/1/4 cup baked, mashed sweet potato
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons  to 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup dark unsweetened powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • shake cinnamon (important! Makes a big difference!)
  • dash salt
  • 1/3  cup chocolate chips (or more...guess these are optional since they're good even without...but...not really)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degress.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour into an 8×8 glass baking dish
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.