There’s a rumor about the invention of the brownie. It goes something like this…in 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Fair. Dignitaries and visitors were coming from all over the world to see what Chicago had to offer. A very wealthy socialite named Bertha Palmer was in charge of the women’s committee and she wanted to make a splash.
So she told her chef to invent a cake that could be eaten as a finger food. And he came up with brownies. Now, they probably weren’t Sweet Potato Brownies like this recipe, but I like to think of this as an improvement on the original.
Why are Sweet Potato Brownies better than the original? There are a few reasons. If you’re used to making brownies from a box, this recipe will cut down on your sugar by replacing it with honey and exchanging coconut oil for whatever oil the box tells you to use. So already, these brownies are more natural and that’s always a good thing.
Next, this recipe uses almond meal instead of wheat flour. Almond meal is great because it acts just like wheat flour in plenty of recipes, but without the gluten and without most of the carbs, and with added protein to help you feel full.
This recipe also uses raw cacao powder instead of processed chocolate or chocolate syrup, which has a lot of added sugar. Chocolate is made from cacao seeds. Chocolate is cacao seeds plus a bunch of other stuff, including sugar, and usually milk or cream. So you can think of raw cacao powder as the more natural older sibling of chocolate.
Cacao powder will also give you a richer, darker chocolate flavor. Some say it even has just a hint of coffee to it (the seeds are related!). Either way, cacao powder makes for a rich, dark chocolate flavor that you will absolutely love.
The last biggest change in the recipe from your average brownie box mix or even from-scratch recipe is in its name: sweet potato! Sweet potatoes are super healthy, with tons of vitamin A and vitamin C and fiber. So adding them means you’re getting brownies with health benefits – a plus already. The sweet potato acts as a binder, holding the final product together and also assuring that it is moist and chewy.
Come to think of it, aside from using the sweet potato, these brownies are probably closer to what Bertha’s chef made in 1893 than what we get in a box today because they didn’t have as many processed food products in 1893 as we do today. And processed food is one thing I and all other Paleo eaters try to steer away from as much as possible.
But let’s face it: when you’re making brownies, no matter how healthy they are, the only thing that matters in the end is taste. Because no one is going to eat a dry, bland brownie. And just like Bertha Palmer (what a name…) the first time I made these brownies was for a party with some new friends I really wanted to impress. So I was crossing my fingers that they would be as much of a hit as they had been in 1893.
I don’t know if I sparked a food revolution, but I did get rave reviews, especially when folks found out the brownies were Paleo. And a couple people even asked for the recipe. And I suppose that’s how it all started for Bertha too…a few people ask for the recipe and before you know it, your brownie is the top dessert in the world. These Sweet Potato Brownies could very well become the next big thing!
- 4 ounces peeled sweet potato
- 1 cup almond meal
- 7 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 10 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 6 tbsp honey
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 ½ tsp coconut oil
- Place the sweet potato in a microwave safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover with a lid. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. If you don't want to use a microwave oven, you can bake sweet potato in an oven.
- Puree the sweet potato using an immersion blender or food processor and let it cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs with honey.
- Add the coconut oil and mix.
- Add the sweet potato puree and mix to combine.
- Add the almond meal and mix to combine.
- Add the cacao powder and mix well.
- Pour the batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Do not overcook brownies. They should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle.
- Leave the brownies to cool in the pan then turn out, remove the baking parchment and cut into 16 pieces.
- For the drizzle, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and honey. Drizzle the mixture over the brownies and serve.
Want more Paleo recipes? Take a look at the Paleo Grubs Book. With 470+ easy-to-prepare Paleo recipes in 17 comprehensive categories it is the only Paleo book you will ever need.
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