A couple of weeks ago I was co-hosting a tea party with a friend and decided to try making sweet potato brownies – one of those things I’d seen on the internets before and figured would be a fun and reasonably healthy thing to make. I ended up having so many left over that I had loads to take into the studio I work in too. As a result lots of people asked me for the recipe, and since it’s mostly clean/paleo (wow I really do hate those terms – they are definitely for want of better ones!) I figured I’d post it here for everyone to enjoy. Apologies for the crappy photo – it was a bit of an afterthought so just used my phone.
I have to confess that I am a bit of a maker-upper with my cooking. As an ex-chef and all-round experimenter, I’m very confident in doing so, and since I know the science behind why certain things work, they usually turn out ok. I’m going to add some random tips in as I go – there are hopefully things that you’ll be able to apply to other things you make.
- 550g roasted sweet potato*
- 2 x 100g bars of dark chocolate (over 80% cocoa)
- 100g butter**
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- Teaspoon of baking powder
- 3 handfuls of sugar (approx. 3 desertspoons)***
* – Just roast the whole potatoes in their skin and scoop out the flesh.
Tip: Since the potato is replacing the flour, you want it to be quite dry otherwise the mix will be too liquid. For this reason, don’t boil or steam them as they will absorb a lot of water.
** – I would’ve used coconut oil were the quantity smaller, but it’s too expensive to use 100g. It is the alternative option for dairy-free folk, or for those who want the extra hit of MCT’s.
*** – This is optional. Since there were kids coming I thought I should add some in, and also my friends eat more sugar than me and I was worried they might’ve found them not sweet enough. If they were just for me the sugars from the potatoes and chocolate would’ve been enough.
- Spread out the sweet potato flesh and leave to cool and dry out a bit. Mash as finely as you can be bothered – a few lumps will look good – bright orange – in the final brownies, so don’t worry too much.
- Break the bars of chocolate into a heat proof bowl which has been placed over a pan of simmering water. When they’ve melted, add the butter.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Tip: The bowl must be clean – any grease will stop the whites whisking up. Also, a squeeze of lemon juice and/or a pinch of salt makes them whisk up better as they speed up the reaction which causes the whites to go white and stiffen (essentially the same reaction as the one that makes them go white when they cook).
- Add the egg yolks to the mashed potato, sprinkle the baking powder on top and mix thoroughly.
Tip: Egg yolks add a hard-to-define richness to things. Think custard, hollandaise sauce and rich, thick chocolate puddings. If you want an interesting use for them, try adding a couple into your porridge in the morning – just before serving very quickly whisk them in with a fork. Makes it thicker and adds good fat.
- Stir in the melted chocolate and butter.
- Put a spoonful of the whisked egg whites in, and gently combine. Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Tip: Be gentle doing this. The point of the egg whites is to add air. Since I’ve not used flour, which would normally have a raising agent in, I wanted to do something to ensure the brownies didn’t come out as one stodgy mass. This is actually a very good tip to make things that don’t use flour rise, like cakes made from almond flour for example.
- Your mix is now done. Pour it into a large baking tray so that it’s about 2cm thick and put it into a pre-heated oven at about 170. After 12 minutes or so check to see if it’s cooked by sticking a knife into it. If the blade comes out clean then you’re done, but if it has wet mix on it then put them back in and try again for a few minutes.
- Let them cool for half an hour or so then cut into pieces, the size of which is up to you, but they’ll be quite rich so you probably will want to keep them small.
The only serving suggestion I have is either ice cream or crème fraiche. Yum :)