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Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownie

Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownie

Jan Goss


  • 2 1/2 C sweet potato - peeled, cubed and steamed

  • 1/2 C dates

  • 1/4 C boiling water

  • 120 4-6 oz.  good quality paper wrapped vegan chocolate - melted

  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1⅓ C all-purpose flour

  • 2 Tbsp milled flax seed + 4 tbsp water

  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder - unsweetened

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 3/4 C walnuts - chopped

  • ⅛ tsp salt


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F

  2. Grease an 8-inch square cake tin.

  3. Peel and chop the sweet potato into half-inch, or smaller, cubes and steam until soft.

  4. Chop the dates and add about 1/4 cup of boiling water, just enough to cover them.

  5. Melt the chocolate.

  6. Blend the steamed sweet potato whilst warm, with the dates and water, chocolate, and maple syrup, until smooth.

  7. Mix the flax seed and water together and set aside to thicken.

  8. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and walnuts.

  9. Add the potato mixture to the dry ingredients along with the flax mixture, combine gently.

  10. Place the mixture in the baking tin and bake for 15-20 minutes

  11. Cool in the tray and then cut into 9-12 portions


Expand your dessert options with this sweet potato chocolate brownie

Fielding the constant barrage of single-use plastic can be quite the challenge, especially when it comes to buying food.

The larger supermarkets love to wrap produce in plastic. The lure of packaging still endures even though we know its "disposal" creates problems and uses precious resources, including fossil fuels. All packaging, including paper, takes a great deal of energy to produce and an equal amount of energy, water and other resources to recycle. Making purchases without packaging is our best option if we care about the environment.

In Iowa City, we are fortunate to have stores such as New Pioneer, Natural Grocers, Bread Garden Market and the Farmers Markets that make it so much easier for us to make a difference. They enable us to buy fresh produce without packaging that is also organic, which, as I wrote a few weeks back, is also imperative for the health of the planet and our bodies. Each time we choose a "naked" item, without packaging, we are reducing the great waste problem. Every little bit helps. Perhaps we can extend that further and pledge to buy no multi-use plastic items either.

At home in Britain, the government passed a law that requires all retailers to charge 10 pence (the "cost of living" equivalent of about 20 cents) for every plastic bag used at checkouts. Upon implementation in October 2015, there was an immediate 95% reduction in the use of these plastic bags.

Maybe we could do a personal inventory of the volume of plastic in our recycling boxes and do our best to stop or reduce it at source by buying naked, unwrapped food. What is convenient for us in terms of pre-prepared food has a massive impact on the environment as multiple resources are required to produce it. Food that is in its natural form, such as lettuce, also keeps for much longer than its "triple-washed" pre-prepared counterparts. Preparing a naked lettuce only takes a minute of our time and it will last for a couple of weeks if stored well, and there’s no plastic to dispose of.

The disposal and recycling of single-use plastic is causing massive problems worldwide. Much of the waste doesn’t get to be recycled because the sheer volume overwhelms the systems we have in place. Much of it ends up in the ocean too, polluting the water and fish with toxic petrochemicals.

Here in Iowa, we couldn’t be much further from the ocean, but back in the UK I live on the coast and see the constant swell of plastic washing up on the shore. We might wonder how our use of plastic in Iowa affects the oceans, but watching the thought-provoking video "Plastic Bag" helps us to understand. The beautifully crafted short film directed by Ramin Bahrani and narrated by Werner Herzog documents the life of a plastic bag, poetically showing us how our simple individual actions contribute to the whole. Of course, it is difficult to avoid plastic altogether but with a little forethought we can all contribute to the ocean cleanup, directly and indirectly.

I’ve chosen to share a recipe here that uses sweet potato as the base for a brownie. It has no added refined sugar and I usually use chickpea flour rather than all-purpose flour, which makes a healthier alternative.

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