Raw(ish) vs real: the brownie showdown
There's probably nothing more satisfying to a chocolate lover's sweet tooth than a good, squidgy, cakey brownie.
So when I was recently flipping through the newest addition to my collection of cookbooks, 'Healthy Alternatives to Your Favourite Comfort Foods' by Chloe Langer, and came across a healthy Sweet Potato Brownie recipe, I knew my next food challenge was on.
While this is not strictly a raw recipe, it's totally egg and sugar free, makes use of alternative flours and packs a vitamin-packed punch thanks to its main ingredients, sweet potato and dates.
I put it to the challenge for a BBQ on the weekend against my go-to Hummingbird Bakery brownie recipe and left the jury of friends and toddlers to decide.
The sweet potato brownies were a bit of a challenge to make, as mashing dates was pretty labour intensive and they required a couple of ingredients I don't always keep on hand (agave syrup and almond flour). There was definitely a point where I wasn't sure if it was all going to come together in a form that I could spread into a baking pan. But I stuck with it and it all came together to form a thick paste that looked reasonably like brownie batter, just a bit stickier.
After 20 minutes in the oven, I had what looked like a very nice tray of brownies:
A much prettier picture from the author herself, with added superfoods:
Not quite like the traditional Hummingbird variety, but not a million miles away:
(Image thanks to Red Online/Peter Cassidy. I got distracted by BBQ prep and forgot to take my own!)
The sweet potato brownies were a very dense texture and resembled a raw food bar more than a brownie. They actually reminded me a bit of the texture of Nak'd food bars--no bad thing, as I love those! They weren't as sweet as a traditional brownie, which was fine as when it comes to healthier snacks I definitely wouldn't have expected it to be and I'm trying to wean myself a bit from super-sugary things.
The only down side for me was that they weren't all that chocolatey. The four tablespoons of cocoa powder weren't quite enough for my taste and my desire for chocolate, so when I make these the next time I'll definitely up the level of cocoa.
That said, when I served these to my guests as a date-square-meets-brownie, they were really well-received and even the kids were loving them! (Toddlers, in my experience, are the toughest critics!)
I even managed to keep some left overs which I snacked on the rest of the weekend. They store very well and are just as tasty a couple of days later.
Would I make them again? Yes, absolutely. This is a very quick and easy recipe and may be my new homemade replacement for my Nak'd bar addiction. I'll probably play around a bit with the chocolate content just to see what it does to the flavour.
The winner? I'm not sure I can genuinely compare the two! They ended up tasting like such different things, I don't think you could substitute one for the other directly but but the sweet potato brownies certainly get a thumbs up purely from a tasty, healthy treat perspective.
The Sweet Potato Brownie recipe can be found in Chloe's book via her web site, gingerfitspo.com. It's a downloadable e-book, only £4.99 and has loads of healthy recipes to try.
And, of course, Hummingbird Bakery Brownies recipe can be found here.
What's your healthy recipe alternative for your favourite indulgent treat? Let me know and I might put it to the test in my next Raw vs Real Challenge!