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30 June 2014

 I've resisted 'healthy baking' for a while now. My logic? Well, can you really blame me from questioning whether cake is really any good without butter and sugar? I've always felt that by taking away the naughty ingredients, you remove any real joy from the situation.

Well, I'll eat my words - once i've polished off these sweet potato brownies, that is. I still wonder whether my baking subconscious took over and snuck in a pack of butter, because these little things are moist, chocolatey and down-right deee-licious.

My little foray into health-baking has opened my eyes to the fact that it really is possible to eat healthy without losing the will to live. I'm eyeing avocados, dates and beets in a whole new light, and it seems crazy that it hadn't occurred to me to sneak veg into my diet via baked goods earlier.

Now before you start throwing in leeks and brocolli, a quick science lesson. If you're removing butter and sugar, you need to ensure that the fruit and veg you add in their place bring the moisture and sweetness which you've subbed out. Equally, if you're skimping on the bad stuff, it's worth paying a little more for really nice chocolate, as this is bringing all the flavour to the table.

And there you have it, easy as pie. And the best thing about these brownies? You would have no idea that the main ingredient is a vegetable. Scouts honour.
250g sweet potato (approx. two medium spuds)
100g 90% (minimum 70, but try and get higher) dark chocolate
50g brown sugar
25g caster sugar
50g butter
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
100g nuts (I used hazelnuts, but any will do beautifully)

Start by baking your sweet potatoes at 225C, and lining an 18cm square tin with foil or baking parchment. 

To prep the sweet potatoes, prick them all over and pop onto a lined tray to roast for around 45 minutes. Once they are soft to the squeeze and cooked through, remove from the oven and slice in half. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skins. Use a fork to mash, then place in a mixer with the sugar, and whisk to combine. Turn the oven temperature down to 180C.

Seperately, gently melt the butter and chocolate over a medium heat. Don't let it boil. Once melted, pour into the sweet potato mix, and whisk well. Don't panic if it looks like a lumpy disaster at this point. 

Beat in the eggs, then add the flour and baking powder, stirring to combine. Finally, stir through the nuts. Pour the brownie mix into your prepped tin, then bake in the oven for 40 minutes. The brownies are cooked when the middle has only just stopped wobbling - don't overcook them, as you'll lose the gooey layer at the bottom which everyone loves.

Leave to cool completely before slicing, as you'll get a much cleaner cut if they've had a chance to firm up a little. Tuck in - and go on, have that second. You've got to get your five a day, don't you know. 

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