The holiday season is peak baking season, from cookie swaps to homemade candy to just-because-it's-the-holidays sweets. To inspire you in your holiday baking, we've partnered with SunSpire, makers of organic, fair-trade chocolate, to bring you recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth while still keeping your desserts wholesome.
If you want the really excellent, insider-only dessert in my mother’s kitchen, you go to the freezer. You have to dig deep, past the chopped nuts and frozen vegetables to get to the good stuff: the bag of frozen brownies. By some trick of baking wizardry (or, more likely, common sense gained by decades of feeding four hungry children), my mother always seems to have at least half a batch of brownies stashed away.
Brownies are an excellent candidate for freezing, which comes in handy around the holidays. The key is to pick a really fudgy recipe, one that’s wonderfully chewy and moist. Not only will this sort of recipe freeze well, but it actually tastes better once it’s had some time to sit...if you can get a pan of them to last that long.
I’ve made my fair share of brownie recipes over the years. I’ve successfully baked all the versions, from light and cakey to extremely dense and gooey—my brownie of choice. But a super dense brownie usually means a brownie that’s also very decadent and very rich. Luckily, I’ve found the solution.
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In the fall, my go-to brownie recipe smartly uses a simple, basic ingredient—sweet potato!—to achieve that fantastic, stick-to-your-fingers fudgy texture without as much heft. These brownies are chewy and moist but not dense or heavy. Best of all, they pack an intense wallop of deep, full-bodied chocolate flavor.
The recipe calls for both cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate chips. Using two types of chocolate has the advantage of intensifying the flavor of the brownies while also adding melty pockets of chocolate to each bite. To further amplify the taste, I add a pinch of espresso powder to my batter. You can easily leave this out, but if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend using it. Espresso powder magnifies the flavor of chocolate without adding any hint of coffee.
Fall is the ideal time to bake these sweet potato brownies, since grocery stores are full of canned sweet potato ready for pie season. You can also always make your own sweet potato puree at home, or substitute pumpkin puree in a pinch.
In addition to how purely good these brownie are, sweet potato brownies are great for a number of other reasons, too. One, you can get a picky eater to have a few more vegetables. Two, you can feed them to friends and reveal the secret ingredient after they’ve all commended you for your incredible brownie magic, which always shocks people because it’s impossible to identify. Three, it’s an easy and fast one-bowl recipe should you need to make last-minute dessert for a school party, unexpected holiday guests, or just an ordinary weekday that could use a little dose of chocolatey sugar.
My advice? Make two batches of these brownies: one for now, one for the freezer. You’ll thank yourself later.
What's your favorite type of brownie? Let us know in the comments!
When baking for family and friends (and even yourself), ingredients matter. We've partnered with SunSpire—crafters of certified organic, fair-trade chocolate, made with the simplest of ingredients and no additives—to bring you recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth while still keeping your desserts wholesome. For more chocolatey inspiration, check out their Instagram!
Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
Choose your holiday adventure! Our Automagic Menu Maker is here to help.