Please don’t let the less-than-beautiful picture above make you think these brownies are other than wonderful. The thing is, I haven’t made these brownies in over a month, so I had to dig through old Instagrams in order to find a halfway decent picture. In general, I am not crazy about sweets. When I want a snack I usually go for things that are spicy, sour, or savory (like a few slices of Cabot extra sharp cheddar, or these hot and sweet pickles I made several pints of last summer and managed to devour before Christmas).
However, sometimes I just want gooey, chocolatey brownies that I don’t have to feel completely terrible about eating. In my search for a brownie that fits all those requirements, two recipes I made again and again were David Lebovitz’s Gluten Free Brownies and Dan Lepard’s Sweet Potato Brownies. If those two recipes met and produced a beautiful love child, it would probably look something like the following recipe.
Sweet Potato Brownies
6 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (add a pinch of good sea salt if you’re using coconut oil or unsalted butter)
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped or in chips
1 to 2 cups baked sweet potato flesh, scooped out (or, undercook it a little if you want your brownies studded with chunks of sweet potato)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350º and grease an 8-inch square pan with a little butter or coconut oil. In a large bowl, beat the sweet potato flesh with the sugar until light and fluffy. Melt the butter or coconut oil and chocolate (and sea salt, if using) in a medium saucepan over very low heat on the stove top, stirring constantly until smooth, then slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the sweet potato mixture. Add the eggs and the vanilla, then beat until thick. Sift together the cocoa and arrowroot powders in a small bowl, then add them to the chocolate mixture. Beat vigorously for at least one minute, until the batter is no longer grainy and nearly smooth. Add the nuts, if using, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until the brownies feel just set in the center. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing (this is the hardest part).
A word of caution: although these brownies are gluten free and full of good things like sweet potatoes, nuts, and coconut oil, they are still brownies and thus best enjoyed in moderation. I usually bake them to take to parties or when I know I’ll be having company, otherwise it’s brownies for breakfast all week long.