You know what food trend I’ve never fully understood?
The one about the hidden vegetables.
The puree-something-your-kids-won’t-eat-and-bury-it-in desserts! Add spinach in chocolate cake! Sneak cauliflower in pasta!
Do whatever you can to trick them into eating nutrition!
I mean, I think I kind of understand it, or at least the premise of it: if you can add good-for-you foods to what someone normally eats without them noticing, then you get them to eat what they should while also eating what they want.
I was curious, I’ll admit it, to see what a pureed vegetable could add to one of my favorite desserts: rich, decadent brownies. I mean, I already knew how delicious sweet potato gnocchi are, after gobbling up a huge bowlful of them for dinner the other night.
So I made a batch of these sweet potato brownies.
(Plus, bonus reason! I had a lone sweet potato in the fridge, begging to be used!)
What did I discover? Something amazing.
Pureed sweet potatoes add a moist texture to the brownies that makes them super dense and fudgy – as a perfect brownie should be!
The sweet potato taste is sweet and subtle, practically nonexistent – all you taste is a deep chocolate flavor that is irresistible with each bite.
Sure, it’s not the healthiest treat (Flour! Butter! Sugar!), but this healthy-ish recipe is so rich and decadent.
The ultimate brownie.
And as it turns out, at least when it comes to these sultry squares of chocolaty delights, that hiding vegetables in dessert can be kind of clever.
So maybe being sneaky isn’t so bad after all…Print
Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies
- Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Yield: 9 brownies 1x
How do you get super fudgy brownies? We add pureed sweet potatoes to the batter for a rich and dense texture.
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup sweet potato puree (from about 1 large sweet potato)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips, optional
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the top. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat, and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Add the sweet potato, sugar, egg, and vanilla to the cocoa and butter mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir gently, just until no traces of flour remain. Fold in the optional chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan, evenly smoothing the top with a spoon.
- Place in the oven and bake until the surface looks dry and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 15-20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Brownies
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: brownie, dessert, chocolate, sweet potato, holiday baking
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Cook and Puree the Sweet Potato
Peel the sweet potato and chop in cubes using a sharp knife and cutting board.
Cook the sweet potato in boiling water until soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.
Puree in a food processor or blender, adding water as necessary, until thick and smooth.
You can do this step ahead of time, refrigerating the puree in an airtight container until ready to use.
Step 2 – Prep the Pan and Ingredients
Heat your oven to 350°F.
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the top of the paper. Set aside.
Measure out the unsalted butter, cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract. Break the egg in a separate bowl and set aside.
Step 3 – Combine Butter and Cocoa Powder
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. No need to brown the butter! Just heat until the it is entirely melted. Immediately remove from the heat.
Stir in the cocoa powder with a metal whisk. The mixture will be thick. Set aside and let cool slightly.
Step 4 – Add the Sugar and Wet Ingredients
To the cocoa powder and butter mixture, add the sweet potato puree, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir until everything is combined into a thick batter.
Step 5 – Whisk Together Dry Ingredients
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 6 – Combine Ingredients
Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir gently, just until no traces of flour remain. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.
Step 7 – Bake
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly smoothing the top with a spoon. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with more chips for a pretty presentation.
Place in the oven and bake until the surface looks dry and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 15-20 minutes.
Step 8 – Cool and Serve
Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before cutting in squares and serving. Enjoy!
An Unexpected Secret Ingredient
To get the fudgiest, chewiest, thickest brownies, We’ve turned to the ingredient you’d least expect:
With nearly a cup of pureed sweet potatoes, our recipe is rich and indulgent. The thing you’d least expect creates the best texture you do expect from a brownie!
Ironic, isn’t it?
You’ll also be equally as happy with our recipe for sweet potato blondies, another decadent dessert with the same surprising ingredient!
How do you like to incorporate veggies in crazy ways in your favorite sweets? Reveal your secrets in the comment section below, and rate this recipe!
Looking for more brownie recipes? We’ll indulge you:
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
- Vegan Chocolate Brownies
- Brownie Bites
- Flourless, Gluten-Free Brownies
- Gluten-Free Cashew Brownies
- Raw Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 26, 2010. Last updated: October 23, 2020 at 19:25 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
51 thoughts on “Want a Super Fudgy Chocolate Brownie? Add Sweet Potatoes!”
Only yesterday I was thinking about this and I intend to do a post. I do cook for little boys 2 1/2 year old twins every day. They know what a real vegetable is. They love them, and they love roisted sweet potato slices with olive oil and salt. They call them “cookies.” Conversely, or additionally, baking with added fresh whole foods is a great idea to bring nutrition to sweets. But, I’m old fashioned and think kids can live on very few sweets and should only eat the ones you make from scratch without all the junk in them. The idea of the sweet potatoes brownies made from scratch is a great recipe, much better than what you get in those boxes. If you keep feeding kids chocolate cake, they will never get a savory sweet tooth or enjoy vegetables. But we are wired (from God) to like fresh, whole foods. That’s natural for humans. Okay, see you hit a big “opinion” nerve. 🙂
Why do you say we are wired from God to like fresh whole foods?
Hi Ju! I’m not Angela, but I think what she was saying is that God made fresh, whole foods (as in, made the trees that bear the fruit) and made us, so we were made to enjoy them. Hope that helps!
My kids don’t get sweets very often, but even still I have the cookbook whichof you speak. 🙂 I think the idea is to hide veggies AND serve veggies, but to me it’s more of a “pediasure” mentality – let kids eat what they want and cover the bases so you don’t feel like a bad parent. It is very easy to feel like a bad parent. I agree with Angela – kids can and DO love veggies – they just need to be “helped” occasionally. It doesn’t hurt if the veggies are prepared well. Because, honestly, who would eat canned peas on purpose?
Brownies with sweet potatoes? Sounds delicious.
Shannalee, your photography has been so amazing lately. Really inspiring. Just wanted to let you know, and wish a good weekend!
I’m not a fan of this, and it’s because I think that children’s food is so heavily dumbed down that it’s like society thinks they have no taste buds at all. Or worse yet, like they shouldn’t be exposed to good, wholesome foods that are prepared well and taste wonderful. But it’s out there, and goes deep into so many layers and reasons why that it’s difficult to get anyone to look at the honest truth, and that is that good food just doesn’t need much at all, really beyond an honest preparation. There should never be deceit woven into their eating.
OK. I’m making this one tonight. It’s a recipe that’s totally made for my veggie sensibilities. 🙂 As well as my chocoholism.
I think we should capitalize on opportunities to make foods more wholesome – such as adding produce in baked goods. So rather than just consuming fat and sugar, we have healthy whole grains and vitamins and minerals. I like adding squash and bananas to muffins and using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all purpose – the results are moist and tasty. Thanks for sharing.
I have to send this one to my son’s girlfriend. She’ll love it!
I think it’s great to teach kids to like vegetables on their own, without hiding them in dessert. But what’s the harm in doing that AND making these beautiful brownies? I’m excited to try them!
I don’t have kids but I have a husband who prefers other things to vegetables and sadly yes, I have sneaked in a veggie or two into things.
On the other hand, I have found a recipe for brownies that uses black beans and no flour.
Tried it out on my sister and her friends who absolutely loved them. I have to say this is the best recipe I have come across for moist brownies. I will have to try the sweet potato recipe.
I love that I have gotten to sample everything in your posts lately. I feel so special. I can’t decide if these brownies, the meatloaf sandwich, or the olive oil granola is my favorite.
I’ve never understood that trend either! But I love adding veggies to baked stuff because. . . it’s so good! (I mean — zucchini bread!) Can’t wait to try these.
mmmmmm… that looks delicious! and rich! I love unique recipes, the ones with hidden black beans or sweet potatoes!
thanks for sharing, I will give her a try! and try to restrain myself from eating the whole pan… I have a weakness for chocolate.
I just tried the vegan chocolate cake recipe over at Joy the Baker’s site, which uses avocado instead of butter and eggs. I think these recipes are great options, especially for dietary needs. It’s a good practice to try to make baked goods healthier, like using applesauce or lowfat sour cream/yogurt in place of some of the butter and eggs, and using at least some whole wheat flour or spelt flour.
However, I also agree that you need to cultivate a healthy appreciation for vegetables in many forms. I’ve read some research lately on kids’ tastebuds and how they naturally start out more attuned to the sweet tastes and they need to develop the appreciation for the savory and bitter. Getting them used to variety and healthy eating at a young age will expand their palate and make for good life patterns.
i love brownies, and these sound really, really good! this post reminds me of how i’m always trying to get murdo to eat his vegetables. unfortunately, the only way i’d get him to eat a sweet potato is to add bacon to it.
I’m reallllly craving some chocolate- specifically THIS right now.
I’m very lucky. I have don’t have to sneak in veggies and fruits for my children to eat them. They LOVE them and ask for them. I’m the picky one! 🙂 I do like sweet potatoes so no need for sneaky brownies. 🙂
Most of my kids like veggies, but I have one who I’d have to do this for. Kids need their nutrients, what can I say. My husband hates vegetables too. Sigh.
Curiosity usually lures me in too! Although I hope one day when I have kids, they will enjoy eating veggies, weather in their brownies or not. These brownies look nice and fudgy, yum!
Angela, I pretty much agree with everything you wrote here. I think it’s ideal that kids would cultivate tastes for vegetables and only have homemade sweets. That is excellent. Look forward to your post on this!
Jenny, Ha! I wondered if I was being obvious. 🙂 Sounds like you’ve reached a good agreement for your family – and I appreciate what you said about it being easy to think you’re a bad parent (I can tell you’re not, btw) because that’s kind of human with everything. Glad you said that.
Tiina, You are so sweet. It’s all the new camera. Thank you!
Kate, Right. I am with you, both about the deceit issue and about the bad foods for kids. In this particular case, I genuinely liked the brownies, and not because of some supposed health benefit of sneaking a sweet potato inside. Like what Angela said above, this is a better alternative to a regular brownie. Or at least that’s what I think now.
Ashley, Yeah! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Lisa, Good tips and thanks for the feedback!
Kristi, Great! Hope so!
Cate, Both and. I love it.
Celeste, Sometimes I wonder why people don’t like vegetables. Is it a lack of exposure? A preconception? A genetic thing? It’s fascinating. Glad there are ways around it, for kids and husbands alike, not to mention the rest of us!
Michele, I am so so so happy you liked everything! Thanks for the encouragement. I’d give you what I make anytime.
Tara, MMm zucchini bread! you are right!
Amanda, Well, you are eating for two now. If you want the whole pan, I won’t judge!
Rebecca, Avocado would be interesting, what with its creamy texture. Great option! And thanks for that info on kids’ tastebuds. That is fascinating and something I’d like to read more about. I hated most vegetables until recently, mostly because I didn’t eat them when I was young, you know?
Jacqui, Murdo is blessed to have you and your vegetable-loving ways. You guys are adorable!
Chelsea, I almost always feel the same way.
Ingrid, That’s fantastic! (What’s your kids’ secret??)
TJ, Ha! Another husband story – well, it’s good he has you!
Jacqui, Right? I love trying new things. And I totally agree with you. I hope my future kids will be like that, too!
I totally agree with you! Why can’t we just teach our kids to eat vegetables and let them aquire a taste for them? I read that it can take 10x of being introduced to a new food before a kid will eat it. I tried that with my kids and it totally works. I kept putting it on their plate and after a while they realized they actually liked it! Now they will eat anything and that wasn’t happening 2 years ago!
The brownies look really good and I can see how the sweet potato makes them extra creamy. Will have to give it a try!
Sneaky or not, that looks awesom. I love that spicy flavor that comes from sweet potatoes, so I’m sure these will be a hit!
What a delight! I love brownies and sweet potato. It’s like christmas!
Tee hee hee. This made me smile because I just made a cake with shredded butternut squash in it. I thought it was a little gimmiky at first too, but it turned out amazing. And growing up, my mom always made our chocolate birthday cakes with one shredded white potato. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
yum. i love veggies in things, so this sounds fantastic! our 7yo daughter LOVEs veggies, esp chick peas, peas, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc. i never have to hide things, but we always try to figure out how to ADD them! 🙂
You keep sweet potatoes in your fridge? : )
Deliciously Organic, That is awesome to hear! So how did you get your kids to try it when you put it on their plates, that is the question!? It’s so encouraging to know if I keep giving something a chance, there’s a chance I will like it!
Sue, Thanks – hope you get to try these!
Allison, Ha! Fantastic!
Megan, A shredded white potato!? That is one of the most interesting things I have heard. And yessss about your using squash in the cake – we are so on the same page!
JessieV, Wow, that’s great – did she just always like them, or did you have to coax her into it?
Tim, I do! I guess because my mom always did (does?) – but it’s not necessary, I know.
Wow, I’ve never heard of these, so I am definitely intrigued, but please please please, don’t make black bean brownies. Made them. Hated them.
And I love black beans and hiding veggies in dessert. Just not those!!!
Niki, Ha! I have been highly skeptical of black bean brownies, but so many people say they’re good, there must be a good version, right? Don’t worry – I’m not planning to do it soon.
Oh my gosh that looks amazing. Decadent and rich, LOVE IT. I never understood hiding vegetables either. I mean, kids are smart, they’ll figure it out.
That is a fabulous idea!
It’s funny, because my friend’s fiance HATES vegetables. And every so often we attempt this kind of trickery with him. For instance, I made a cauliflower macaroni and cheese one night and he ate it up and loved it! Really, he hates the idea of vegetables, not the taste of them.
I remember not liking vegetables as a kid because all we had was steamed broccoli and steamed string beans and I’m pretty sure I was just sick of them by the time I hit eight years old. I think variety and flavor are important without completely concealing the vegetables (like tons of butter and cheese that negates the healthy factors). But I don’t have kids, so maybe this is unrealistic. It is, however, how I hope to approach this issue when I do have children. (If you saw my friend’s fiance’s diet, though, you would agree that I do have experience in child-like eating habits.)
So, i keep seeing black bean brownies and i think they scare me even more than these! I mean, people make sweet potato pie, but maybe that’s just here in the south? do ya’ll eat sweet potato pie? if not, it probably sounds SO southern!
I have a cookbook, Cook Yourself Thin and I have tried their vanilla cupcakes made with zucchini, chocolate brownies with butternut squash and have planned to make their Mint Chocolate cupcakes with sweet potato!
and i love Elie Krieger and have made her mac and cheese with butternut squash and it was GREAT!
i’m all for fittin in the fruits and veg when it TASTE good! 🙂 but it better taste good!
I’m all for the honesty with kids and foods – sneaking around is a great way to engender resentment. But if something like a sweet potato has a logical reason to be snuck in, I’m all for it. In this case, I’m sure it tenderized and moisturized the brownies and you didn’t waste it. That’s reason enough. But I’m with the other commenters who are on the side of teaching the kids about eating healthy (and eating healthy yourself as a good example).
What! Really!? Crazy but i’m sure it is delicious. I could bite a piece of that gooey brownie right off the screen! Thanks for the tip I will try this sweet potato brownie next time i bake.
Jessica, Ha! That’s funny – I guess kids ARE smart! you’re right!
Liz, I loved your comment – it’s awesome how many people are coming out with similar stories. It’s nice that vegetable-haters have such good friends to help them. 🙂
Elizabeth, I think I would really like the south. I mean, besides how nice everyone is, you have sweet potato pie!? I’m sold.
Jenny, Yes. I feel like that is the same conclusion I came to too – if the veg has a purpose, then that’s diff than just throwing it in there for good luck, ha!
Nastassia, We were commenting at the same time! 🙂 Hope you do get to try this and would love to hear what you think!
I love your pictures 🙂 I love “sneaking” vegetables into unexpected things, but not to hide them. More because I love using vegetables in every way possible 🙂
I just re-read the comment I typed, and sounds much different than my intent. 🙂 I meant that hiding veggies seemed to me like a pediasure mentality – and I so dislike those commercials that glibly suggest a child should decide his or her nutritional needs based on what they “will” or “won’t” eat. Just to clarify, that is not the case in our house. I just love it when our 3 year old wants to eat nothing but the veggies at dinner, (asparagus? broccoli? I can’t keep him away) but I still do make him eat his chicken. 🙂
Thanks, Heather! I am *learning* to love using vegetables in every way possible too, which is maybe what is so intriguing to me about this whole topic anyway!
Jenny, Ha! Well I thought your original comment sounded very filled with grace and reasonable, but thanks for the clarification. That’s kind of awesome about your three-year-old WANTING vegetables. I wonder why I never went through a stage like that? ha!
Made these today……Delicious!
Glad you enjoyed them, Tessa!
I love adding sweet potato puree and pumpkin puree to my brownies…they add the perfect touch of moistness to each bite…great recipe and beautiful pictures!
Thanks, Healthy Apple!
You know I have twin boys 8 years old and One of them likes vegies and the other hates them all. I would love to try this book not to trick them but to get the nutrition into him since he won’t eat them. As long as they still taste ok with the hidden ingredients. But I still put vegies on his plate every night and he has to try them everytime. I hope that he starts to like them more because he keeps trying. He is starting to try more things lately. But in the mean time if I have hidden vegies in his food and he does not notice than thats great because he is getting the nutrition.
Thank you very much for sharing this recipe. Some children do not like veggies. Period. Everyday, we go through the same routine, try this, eat that and with complete resistance to vegetables. No all children are passive and love everything that Mom and Dad eat. I’m curious, should I force and shove things done my child’s throat that he doesn’t want to eat??? That’s really going to give him an appreciation for good food!!! People’s self righteous attitudes are so bothersome on the comment’s sections.
So with that being said, I believe it is better to sneak/hide nutritious food into less desirable things like brownies or muffins in order for my 3 year old to get proper nutrition. No??
Hi Mel, I can only imagine the frustrations of kids and eating, ha! : ) I think people have strong opinions on these topics because, bottom line, people want to do what’s best for their kids. We all get that… and most people do the best they can with what they know. When it comes to children, like when it comes to anyone, baby steps are okay. : ) If hiding things in brownies is the best way to give a kid good vegetables, why not. I will also say, though, that I love the idea to make kids taste everything (i.e., “No, you don’t have to eat broccoli for dinner ever, but you do always have to try a bite.”). The ultimate goal is always to help kids, and ourselves, and that’s a good thing to keep in mind. Thanks for your comment!
Great !!! That is very impressive! I want to make this for my customers. I am curious to see how delicious the end product is?
I’d love to hear what you think when you try it!
OMG looks SO good!
These were spectacular!!!! Thank, thank you for this recipe! My chocolate fetish is once again satiated for a week or so.