Sweet Potato Brownies

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Growing up in Japan, I have very fond memories of roasted sweet potatoes.  We lived near a small temple, so every Fall the Shinto priests would rake the leaves, pile them, place sweet potatoes under the leaves and light the leaves on fire.  After a while you start to smell the distinct “Fall smell” of burning leaves and roasted sweet potatoes (these are the memories I want to put inside a capsule and carry with me forever!).   Also, during the Fall to Winter, we had “sweet potato trucks” going around different neighborhoods.  From their speakers they would yell “O-imo!!  Attakai imo!!”  meaning “Sweet potatoes!!  Warm sweet potatoes!”   These trucks would have built in charcoal burner and the sweet potatoes are roasted inside these burners. 

The Japanese varieties are different from the American kind with purplish skin and firm dark yellow “meat”. 
japanese sweet potato
(photo from “Agriculture Source”)

Remembering my childhood memory of sweet potatoes, every Fall I tend to overstock on these sweet potatoes.  I have been too lazy to “roast” them, so I’ve been steaming them (which are equally good).  I had a bit too much left over and I wanted to make a cake (not a pie, I think I had enough pies during Thanksgiving).   I didn’t want typical spiced cake, but couldn’t find simple sweet potato cake recipe that I  liked, however, I found this Sweet Potato Brownies on this page!  Sounded interesting so I proceeded to make this few days ago. 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-½ cups grated raw sweet potato (peel ‘em first)
  • 1-½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Whiskey Caramel Pecan Glaze
  • 1-½ cups caramel topping (see notes)
  • 1-½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup whiskey, or less to taste. I used Jack Daniel’s

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until fully incorporated.
  4. Add flour, salt, molasses, vanilla, and shredded sweet potato. Mix on medium-low until batter is smooth and even.
  5. Grease and lightly flour a 9×13 baking pan. Spread batter in pan and smooth top with spatula. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and prepare the glaze by simply stirring together whiskey, caramel, and pecans. The mixture will be fairly watery. Pour the sauce evenly over the surface of the brownies and return the pan to the oven.
  7. Bake for 5-10 minutes more to toast the pecans and make the glaze nice and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. These cut really nicely if you let them cool – so be patient.

Few steps I adapted :  Instead of grated raw sweet potatoes, I used steamed potatoes and mashed them (or puree).  I also liked my Maple Caramel so I used this instead of the given recipe. 

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My opinion:  Purely delicious!!  I do have to warn you that it’s rich.  I’m sure by using cooked sweet potatoes my so called brownies turned out denser.  The texture is almost like a bread pudding (a bit firmer).  Taste of sweet potato is very earthy and sweet, plus the crunchy caramel and pecans add to this wonderful combination. 

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