Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free Baking: The Secret of These Rich, Dense Brownies? Sweet Potatoes



Most of us agree that brownies are a delicious treat, but can they actually be good for you? Since “good for you” is a relative term, I’d guess that compared to a platter of steamed kale, even these brownies don’t rank too high.  But compared to conventional brownies, these are down right sin free. I’ve learned that most people prefer their brownies rich and dense, rather than light and cake-y, so that’s what I’ve aimed for. Sweet potato puree makes these brownies nutritionally rich and keeps them moist, but balancing the natural bitterness of unsweetened chocolate requires a good bit of maple syrup, so serve in small portions. As an experiment, I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose baking flour which contains garbanzo, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours as well as potato starch, but in the future, I think I’d use a combination of half brown rice flour and half quinoa flour. While I enjoy this sort of challenge, it may be a bit of a fool’s errand: people highly concerned with nutrition may think these brownies too decadent, while lovers of traditional brownies will likely find this recipe too spartan. Oh well. If this project intrigues you, make this recipe and let us know what you think. Recipe after the jump.


Preheat oven to 325˚ F/  Yields 16 brownies

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free baking flour mix or a combination of brown rice flour and quinoa flour

1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted walnuts

1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sweet potato puree

1/2 cup soy milk

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened premium chocolate, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Peel and coarsely chop a 12-14 ounce sweet potato. Steam about 20 minutes or until very tender, then mash well or puree in a food processor. Put this puree into a mixing bowl.

2. In another large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

3. Add the other wet ingredients to the sweet potato puree and mix together well.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together well to thoroughly combine.

5. Pour this batter into a lightly-oiled 9X9-inch baking pan.

6. Place in a preheated 325 ˚ F oven and bake 20-25 minutes, test for doneness, but keep in mind that these brownies are meant to be still moist in the center.

7. Cool well, before attempting to cut.


3 responses

  1. I love brownies, but I gave up refined sugars. Chef Gary served these brownies at our Monday night dinner. I love these brownies! I especially love that they are made with maple syrup, and sweet potato! As Chef Gary mentioned, the texture is dense, but I don’t think too dense. It seems just right to me and goes really well with a hot cup of tea. I get a special taste of chocolate, without all of the sugar. And they are wheat free and gluten free, so special needs are perfectly accommodated. I recommend this brownie to anyone who appreciates a very whole and healthy dessert!

  2. They were delicious, and not too sweet. Heavy on the walnuts, though – I might put a bit less.
    Any chance you will post the recipe for the sweet potato posole soup from Monday’s dinner? Delicious also. Thanks!

  3. I’m trying to eat healthier and recently discovered this blog. These were delicious but I had to bake them for twice as long as called for in the recipe to get them to a good texture, I tried taking them out after 40 minutes and they were too gooey in the center.

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