It is spring, so the urge to make comfort food is diminishing, but it’s still cold enough that I feel like having something sweet with my tea, especially when I’ve been gardening out on the terrace.
I needed to roast some sweet potato for another dish, and remembered having seen a recipe for sweet potato brownies, and thinking that it sounded worth trying. Deliciously Ella has a very healthy-sounding one, which uses raw cacao and dates, but a Dan Lepard recipe also came up on my search, and as I had all the ingredients to hand, that’s the one I tried.
I used walnuts rather than pecans the first time I made it (but pecans are also delicious), replaced much of the flour with ground almonds and halved the quantities to suit my favourite 15cm springform cake tin, which is the ideal size if you’re only cooking for one or two people. If you have more mouths to feed then double quantities fit an 18cm square baking tin.
50g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
100g baked sweet potato, flesh scooped out
60g light brown sugar (or 30g sugar & 30g xylitol)
1 tsp vanilla extract
20g plain flour
30g ground almonds
scant ¼ tsp baking powder
50g chopped walnuts (or pecans or hazelnuts…)
I had baked the sweet potato whole at 200ºC until it was tender – it took about 30 minutes but this will obviously vary with the size of the potato. I used it when it was still warm with no ill effects.
For the brownies, heat the oven to 160ºC Fan/180ºC/Gas Mark 4 and line your tin with greaseproof or foil. My oven has both fan and radiant options, and I find the fan oven particularly good for baking like this.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add 60g of the chocolate and stir until it has also melted. In a bowl, beat the sweet potato flesh with the brown sugar until almost smooth, then add the butter and chocolate. Beat the egg, and add to the bowl with the vanilla, beating until the mixture is thick. Stir in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder until evenly combined. Finally, fold in the chopped chocolate and nuts.
Spoon in to the tin (this quantity also fits the oblong tin above, which is 19 x 13 cm), smooth the top and bake for about 20-25 minutes until just cooked but a little soft under the crust. Leave to cool completely in the tin before slicing. The addition of almonds makes this brownie particularly dense and delicious – and the sweet potato means that it is (slightly) less indulgent than the traditional sugar-laden version.