Chocolate Chunk Sweet Potato Blondie Bars
Sweet Potatoes for Dessert
I won't lie - it came as a total shock to me the first time I heard about sweet potatoes being used in Blondie bars. I knew there were a ton of great dessert recipes for sweet potato pies, and even the classic sweet potato recipes with brown sugar and marshmallows can feel like a dessert! But in chocolate chip cookie bars?? I had to try. And I'm telling you, it's probably my favorite dessert now, especially during the fall season. And it's not just the sweet potatoes that are so great about this recipe. The other ingredients make this dish a much healthier alternative to typical cookie bars - whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and a fraction of the sugar and butter usually used. I've made some adjustments along the way, so this recipe has definitely been perfected. With that said, feel free to make your own adjustments if you've got something special to add! Enjoy :)
all images © gardenharbor
2 sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag of chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (plus a little extra as topping)
Step 1: The Sweet Potatoes
The first step is to prepare the sweet potatoes. You will need to first skin the potatoes (much easier with a vegetable peeler like the one pictured below...if you don't have one of those, you can definitely do this with a knife). Then you want to chop the potatoes into dime or nickel sized pieces. Since you will be boiling these, the smaller the pieces are, the quicker they will be ready!
Add your potato pieces to a large boiling pot of water and cook them until they are soft enough for a fork to easily slide through. Use a colander to drain the potatoes and then put them back in the pot to mash. You want to mash the potatoes as well as you can, but don't worry too much if there are little chunks - these will taste great in the final product :) If you really want the consistency to be smooth, however, you can also use a food processor.
**Note - Depending on how you want your blondie bars to turn out, you may want to cool the potatoes before mixing. In the pictures I have posted, I did not cool the potatoes, so the chocolate chunks melted a little in the mixing process. But this is how I like it, so for me it was perfect! If you cool the potatoes, then the end product will look much closer to classic chocolate chip blondie bars.
~ Good Grips oversize rubber handle is comfortable, even with repetitive strokes~ Swiveling twin blades peel easily with flexible action~ Built-in potato eye remover~ Large hole in handle makes storage easy~ Dishwasher-safe
Step 2: The Liquid Ingredients
While your potatoes are boiling, you can start to mix the liquid ingredients and sugar (butter, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla). Nothing too complicated here! If you are mixing by hand, you will want to soften the butter a bit to make it a little easier to stir. Same as with the sweet potatoes, if there are little chunks of sugar that you just can't get to mix up, it's ok, these will still taste great in the end.
Step 3: Mixing in the Potatoes
Once you've decided whether you want your mashed sweet potatoes cool or warm, you are ready to mix them in with your liquid ingredients. Don't add everything though! You only want to mix in 1 1/2 cups. Hopefully you will not have too much extra, but if you do, just throw them in a tupperware and eat as a leftover - mashed sweet potatoes are fabulous on their own, or as a side dish to an entree.
The liquid ingredients and mashed potatoes together will still seem pretty loose, but don't worry, once the dry ingredients are added, you will see a doughy consistency form.
Step 4: The Dry Ingredients
Once the liquid ingredients and potatoes are thoroughly mixed together, you can mix in your dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon). With this addition, you should end up with a mix that is the consistency of a dough (thicker than cake batter, but maybe not as think as most cookie dough).
Step 5: The Chocolate and Walnuts
Once you have prepared your dough, it is time for the best ingredient! Before mixing in the whole bag of chocolate chunks/chips, you should set aside a tiny handful that you can sprinkle over top as a garnish. You should do the same for the walnuts. Then just add the rest to the dough and stir!
Step 6: Ready for the Oven
Once your mixture is complete, you can add it to a greased 13x9 inch pan. Spread the dough out evenly and add your extra chocolate and walnuts. Then just put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes!
When your Blondies are finally done, they should look just like cookie bars, only a little bit darker. Let them cool for a couple of hours and then feel free to dig in! If they are still warm, they will probably be extra gooey and you may want to use a fork to eat them. But they're still delicious that way. Enjoy!
The Tools You Will Need...or a Great DIY Gift for a Friend!
Below are some kitchen utensils and tools that you may want for this recipe, but nothing too unusual. If you're looking for great gift idea for the baker in your life, consider wrapping these tools in a cute basket and printing out the recipe on nice paper with the gift. Always a huge hit!