This started as an insane craving for a treat, and stubborn resolve not to pollute my body with cake from the grocery store that is literally behind my house. I’ve been exercising a lot more lately, and beginning to tweak my diet with the changing season. All of this has resulted in an occasional sugar craving frenzy as my gut bacteria and my blood sugar levels grapple for control of my feeding impulse. This recipe is intended to not only sate a craving for comfort food but also to supplement my diet with good carbohydrates and fiber that will help regulate my blood sugar as I go from work to work-out, to chores around the house. It’s main ingredients are sweet potatoes, dates and cocoa powder, which make it especially rich in vitamin A, magnesium, manganese and b vitamins.
Sweet potatoes are an amazingly flexible medium. They blend well, become decadent with the addition of just a little fat, and are full of vitamin A , an antioxidant and anti inflammatory. They also contain a decent helping of magnesium. They are a fairly slow burning carbohydrate and their magnesium content helps with blood glucose regulation, muscle function and heart health.
Dates are, admittedly, basically just straight sugar, however they are also full of beta d glucan, a type of fiber that helps promote normal blood glucose levels. They have potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese. Manganese is awesome for the regeneration of connective tissue and blood sugar. Are you seeing a theme here? Fiber, sweetness in the form of slow burning carbs, and vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy heart and the strengthening of muscles, bones and connective tissues.
Basically I have given myself an excuse to eat a brownie for breakfast when I’m feeling sore from yesterday’s workout, and am looking a long day of busy food service in the face. Repairs tissues, regulates blood sugar, slow burning energy source and theobromine to get me in a good mood before Work. The science is tight. I won’t be dissuaded.
Also- I learned a bit about chocolate with these. I know its a “super food,” but I basically loathe that concept, and think most natural foods have applicable benefits if applied correctly with the right preparation. What is so great about chocolate? Moderate caffeine for one. Wikipedia says that 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder has 12 mg of caffeine ( a cup of black tea has 47). But also Iron, vitamin b-2, phosphorous (bones and teeth), copper (connective tissue, brain and heart), and again magnesium and manganese.
I’m not an idiot though. I fully recognize that these are still pretty sugary, however I feel that the glucose grey area is counterbalanced by the nutrient density and timing of when I eat them. Before work or on my way to a work out. Not right before bed. Not before reading for 6 hours.
Grain and Refined Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies
1 Very large sweet potato
1/2 lb pitted dates
3 tbsp grass fed butter or coconut oil
3 tbsp grass fed milk or coconut cream (or more, if you need it)
2 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup high quality cocoa powder (no arsenic in the brownies, thanks)
- Peel your sweet potato, and cut it into 1 inch square cubes. Boil these until they are soft but not disintegrating.
- Preheat your oven to 350f. Let the sweet potatoes cool to warm but not cold, and roughly chop your dates. Put the cooled sweet potatoes into your food processor and blend. Add milk or coconut cream, and butter or coconut oil. Blend till creamy.
- Throw in your dates, a little bit at a time, slowly incorporating them into the sweet potatoes until you have a homogeneous mash.
- Add eggs, vanilla extract and baking powder. Blend together still more.
- Grease a muffin tin or cookie sheet with the same fat you used in the brownies. This batter is stiff, so if you prefer brownie bites, you can make little balls with a spoon, drop cookie style. Otherwise, fill the muffin tin hollows and smoothe the tops as best you can.
- Pop those babies in the oven for 10-15 minutes, at which point break one open. It should be done. These are fudgey. The egg should have coheared the sweet potato mass, but it wont have the cakey gluten structure that flakes and is obviously “dry” in the middle that a regular brownie has.
Store these in the refrigerator after they have thoroughly cooled.