Sweet Potato Brownies
Just in time for Valentines Day!
Last weekend was the graduation celebration for the newest graduates of Yoga Teacher Training at the studio I teach at. Four amazing beings completed the year long program and are about to embark on the greatest learning experience that yoga has to offer…leading a class. To celebrate, current teachers, staff, and students were invited to a potluck celebration of these four souls. Looking at the signup sheet, I noticed the regular healthy prerequisites were already accounted for. The only thing missing was dessert. Being the lover of all things sweet that I am, I was determined to make a healthy-ish dessert to share.
The classes at A Gentle Way yoga studio are categorized by color. Owner Lanita Varshell trained under the Master yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater and cultivated her own style, an offshoot of Restorative called MIMSY (Meditation in Movement Style Yoga). Her Pink and Purple classes are gentle and meditative in nature, perfect for those that have mobility issues, pain, or just want to take it easy on the mat. I, on the other hand, spaztastic as I am, teach a Brown class, which is more traditional and as close to a Vinyasa style “Flow” class as you will get at AGW. Do you see where I’m going with this? Yes. Full PUN ahead. In honor of the Brown classes I teach, I decided to make Brownies. Har! Har! Har! Moving on…
Many in the yoga community follow some sort of dietary restrictions. Some avoid meat or animal products and many try to eat organic. These are often their interpretations of the Yama Ahimsa (non-violence) and the Niyama Saucha (cleanliness) respectively. Trying to be respectful of these practices, I knew my brownies needed to be vegan and gluten-free. So I did what any Mom turned Nutritionist would do. I went to Pinterest! I came across several recipes that had a host of gluten-free flour blends as their base but none of them seemed all that healthy. After all, gluten free flours are often over processed, crowded with fillers, and still spike the blood sugar. Just when I thought all was lost, I came across the most glorious recipe, a marriage of complex carbohydrates, protein, and culinary magic: Sweet Potato Brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie. The following is an adaptation of her recipe.
I started by making the sweet potato puree in my Instant Pot. Have you heard of this thing, yet? Apparently, I am late in the game but I recently bought one for my culinary adventures and boy! What a game changer! I cleaned, peeled, and rough chopped 4 small sweet potatoes and placed them into my Instant Pot with 1 cup of water. Eight minutes on Pressure Cook with a Quick Release, and BOOM! The sweet potatoes were done! Then, I added the sweet potatoes to my food processor with coconut butter, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup maple syrup. In a separate bowl, I mixed my dry ingredients and folded the wet into the dry until everything was mixed well. I made the first batch in a traditional 8×8 pan and baked at 325 for 20 minutes per the recipe. As stated by Katie, they seemed a bit under done after the regular 10 minutes cooldown, so I popped those puppies into the fridge to chill out and set up!
I knew right away that one pan of brownies wouldn’t stretch across 40 people, so I immediately started making batch number two. This time, I used peanut butter instead of coconut butter and instead of baking in a pan, I grabbed my melon baller and distributed a dollop of batter across 32 mini cupcake liners. I baked for 13 minutes instead of 20 and chilled the cupcakes along with the first batch.
The result…perfectly fudgey chocolate brownie goodness! I honestly can’t decide which one I liked more, the coconut base or the peanut butter base. Since 4 small sweet potatoes yields enough puree for 2 batches, I suggest you try both or any other alternative that catches your fancy. These brownie bites are perfect for parties, valentines celebration, or for when you just want something sweet and clean. Here’s the recipe and nutrition information:
- 3/4 cup Sweet Potato Puree (about 2 small sweet potatoes)
- 1 cup coconut butter, peanut butter, or nut butter of your choosing
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour (or gluten free flour alternative)
- 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan sea salt
Makes 32 brownie bites
Make your sweet potato puree using the method of your choice. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add sweet potato puree, nut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to food processor and pulse until well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold or mix until thoroughly incorporated. Fill mini cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes and then transfer to the fridge for 1-2 hours to set up. Arrange on a platter and eat mindfully.
Okay, so I said “healthy-ish”. No, just because these brownie bites are healthy doesn’t mean you can eat the whole shebang! But at under 100 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, you can definitely have a few. The best part is they won’t spike your blood sugar like a refined flour base, they’re gluten free, and they pack more protein than a traditional brownie. Each one also offers 19% of the RDA for vitamin A, which is well known for its role in retinal function/vision as well as immune function. So, I guess it’s safe to say you can have your brownie and eat it to. Okay, I’m stopping now. ‘Til next time….
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!
XOXO – Amberly
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I’m Amberly, a Clinical & Integrative Nutritionist. I help women who’ve had cancer go from just “surviving” to THRIVING by amping up their nutrition, reducing stress, and teaching them how to be in the present moment.
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