Sweet Potato Brownies #RecipeMakeover

Jake gets such a kick out of being my sous chef that I let him pick my last project for #RecipeMakeover week.  He picked brownies. Challenge accepted.

These, admittedly, still aren’t the healthiest brownies ever – but they’re a solid step in the right direction. This recipe uses less sweeteners than most and sneaks in some sweet potato to boot. And while I didn’t plan it this way, they’re vegan, too.

I mashed my sweet potatoes with a fork so they were still a little lumpy going into the batter. Jake isn’t picky (and is thrilled with anything chocolate), so he didn’t mind at all, but if you’re catering to a finicky crowd, pureeing the sweet potatoes would be a better way to hide them!

SweetPotatoBrownies

Sweet Potato Brownies
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
Makes 1 9×9 ban

1/2 cup unrefined organic cane sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the almond butter, sweet potato, syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. Fold in chocolate.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan and smooth out evenly in the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top looks dry and puffed. Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Dust with additional cocoa powder, if desired.

Chocolate Bunny Brownies #ChocolateBunnyPledge

Are you working on filling Easter baskets this week? We are. I’m so looking forward to stocking up on jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies for my crew. You know what won’t be in our Easter baskets? Any live animals.

Each year after Easter, animal shelters and rescue groups get countless requests to take in baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies that were gifted in Easter baskets. It might seem like an adorable idea, but those animals aren’t toys – they’re a lot of work.

The Bunny Hutch is one of these groups and this year they’re asking people to take the #ChocolateBunnyPledge. Will you commit to making your Easter basket fillers candy instead of live animals? Sign the pledge here.

ChocolateBunnyBrownies

And if you’re looking for the easiest Easter dessert ever – featuring a chocolate bunny! – look no further. This is a standard brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe – I love this one.) Take it out of the oven during the last two minutes of baking and press a chocolate bunny and some Cadbury mini eggs into the brownies. Return to the oven for 2 more minutes to let everything meld together. Voila! Easy Chocolate Bunny Brownies.

Coconut Oil Brownies #Choctoberfest

For Choctoberfest, I also received some products to try from Barlean’s. These were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

CoconutOilBrownies

One of the products they sent was Butter Flavored Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is a great substitute for butter in baking, and butter flavored coconut oil is especially fantastic. Using it is a fantastic way to whip up dairy-free baked goods, like these brownies.

They’re chewy and fudgy and exactly what you want out of a brownie.

CoconutOilBrownies2

Coconut Oil Brownies
(from Pinch of Yum)
Makes 1 9×9″ pan

3/4 cup butter flavored coconut oil
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and chocolate together. Once totally melted and combined, remove from heat and whisk in the brown sugar. Whisk in the eggs, until the batter thickens. Stir in the salt and flour until just combined.

Pour into a 9×9″ baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. There may be some oil remaining on the top or sides – it will be absorbed as the brownies cool. Let cool overnight before slicing.

Brownies

All of the brownie recipes on this blog so far start with a box mix. I like boxed-mix brownies – the soft inside and the shiny crunchy layer on top really do it for me – so I was never in a rush to make them from scratch. When I ran across this recipe, they looked like my beloved box version enough that I decided to give them a shot.

These were really, really good. A bit more work than a box – but totally worth it. If you’re a fan of boxed-mix brownies and looking for a from-scratch substitue, these are a great bet.

Brownies


Brownies

(from Sweet Anna’s)
Makes one 9×13″ pan

3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9×13″ pan.

Stir together the cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of the melted butter. Stir in the water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining butter until well combined. Stir in vanilla and salt until smooth.

Add in flour and chocolate chips and stir until just combined. Transfer brownie batter to the greased pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges of the brownies start to pull away from the pan slightly. Cool completely in pan before cutting.

What’s Baking: Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies

whatsbaking

We’re not big Valentine’s day celebrators. We’ve been doing the same date – a college basketball game and some sort of bar-food dinner – for years. It’s not terribly romantic, but it’s a fun night out and I honestly don’t miss the mushy stuff.

I do miss the fun Valentine desserts, though, which is why I was excited when I saw this month’s What’s Baking theme was red velvet. So perfect for Valentine’s Day!

These brownies were a delicious splurge. I sent most of them to work with Mark, because that Oreo truffle layer is dangerously addictive! These are gorgeous and impressive looking, but really not that hard to pull off.

You can check out the full roundup of all the red velvet treats on Kim’s blog, Just Baked, later this month!

 

RedVelvetOreoTruffleBrownies

Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies
(from Pizzazzarie)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan of brownies

1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325F degrees. Liberally grease a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside.

Whisk together cake mix and pudding mix. Beat in melted butter, eggs and vegetable oil until well combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

Crush the Oreo cookies and mix pieces with the cream cheese until well combined. Spread over the cooled red velvet brownies.

Melt the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and pour the melted chocolate over the Oreo layer, smoothing to cover. Sprinkle immediately with mini chocolate chips and pan them down lightly to set.

Refrigerate until the chocolate sets, then cut into bars. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.