Sweet Potato Brownies have a lovely light texture, making them not only delicious for afternoon tea but perfect for a healthy dessert. Dress them up with strawberries and a drizzle of dark chocolate. No one will know there's vegetable hidden in such a yummy chocolate treat. Being nut-free they are suitable for school lunch boxes.
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Preheat oven to 170c (fan-forced). Line a 27 x 17cm slice tin with baking paper, leaving a small overhang for easy removal.
Add the grated sweet potato, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and vinegar to a food processor and blend for 5 seconds (or add to a large bowl and stir well to combine).
Add in the cacao, coconut flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and coconut oil. Process for approximately 8 seconds to combine, bits of grated sweet potato should still be visible. (or sift in the cacao, coconut flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, mix well until all combined. Add the melted coconut oil in gradually while stirring through to keep the oil from setting).
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top springs back when gently touched (the brownies will be soft to the touch). Allow to cool in the tin and then place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before cutting.
Lift out using the baking paper and place on a chopping board. Cut into serving sizes and remove from the baking paper, (for a dessert I like to cut into 8 - 10 squares and top with strawberries, for afternoon tea I cut into 15 slices and only use drizzled chocolate).
Melt the dark chocolate. If using strawberries, dob a little chocolate on the cut side and place in the centre of the cooled brownie to hold the fruit in place. Use a teaspoon to dip into the chocolate and drizzle lines across the brownie and strawberry on an angle. Allow chocolate to set before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days if using strawberries or up to 7 days without.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
Apple Cider Vinegar is used extensively throughout my recipes due to its health benefits. When purchasing, look for raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar ‘with the mother’ it has a cloudy appearance. Avoid malt vinegars as they are made from barley and contain gluten.
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I have used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic', I like its finer texture (I purchase from iherb.com).
Golden flaxseed meal is ground linseed. You will find it in many of my recipes. It is also a great egg substitute when mixed with water. Flaxseed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of carbs. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is the key force against inflammation in our bodies. Flaxseed must be stored in the fridge. I like to use golden flaxseed as it is lighter in colour, than the brown variety and produces a nicer colour to your baking.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Strawberries are loved for their aroma, bright red colour, juicy texture and sweetness. They are easy to grow in your home garden. Strawberries freeze well, use frozen in smoothies and desserts. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, contain folate and potassium, high in fibre, plus they provide anticancer bioflavonoids. To keep your strawberries fresh for several weeks, wash in a bowl with water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar, don't rinse, lay on paper towel to dry and place in a seal container in the fridge. Organic is best.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (the brands I like are 'Absolute Organics' 70% chips or ‘Enjoy Life’ (48%), purchased online or at health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks broken into pieces or I make my own chocolate from: coconut oil or cacao butter, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.