Dec 8, 2010

Sweet Potato Brownie Bars

I love sweet potatoes. 

I like them 
in pies
in pot pies
in whoopie pies
as fries
cooked into soups, stews, and chowders
in cookies
in cakes
for breakfast or lunch
in dinner and dessert.

I rarely meet a sweet potato recipe I don't enjoy, and they're so versatile (and tasty!) that I'm always looking for new ways to combine them with other flavors.

This fall I've been searching for a perfect recipe to combine the flavors of sweet potato and chocolate. I think I've found one. It's a layered bar inspired by a recipe for cookie dough brownies. Two of the layers are all about chocolate, and a few chocolate chips sneak into the third layer as well.

On the ground floor: cinnamon cayenne brownies. In the middle: sweet potato cream cheese filling that tastes a lot like my Grandma's sweet potato pies. Up top: bittersweet chocolate glaze.


I'm adding this recipe to the Holiday Recipe Exchange. Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Scharffen Berger.

And check out more sweet potato recipes from Foodista:

Sweet Potato on FoodistaSweet Potato

Sweet Potato Brownie Bars
Makes at least 20 servings.

Click here for printable recipe.

These were the husband's innovation. We were bouncing around ideas for combining chocolate and peppers. 

We debated the merits of chipotles vs. fresh jalapenos. Then we considered various ways to prepare the jalapenos--rolled in brown sugar, dipped in raspberry simple syrup, candied. 

Then the husband headed for the kitchen and declared he was going to use cayenne. In a brownie. 

It was delicious. So simple. So good. My husband is brilliant.

2 sticks butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne
large pinch salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. (recommended step) Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with foil.
  3. Grease the foil if using, or grease the dish.
I neglected to use foil when I was baking the brownies, and this is the mess I was dealing with as I tried to cut and serve the bars. With foil I think I would try to lift the brownie bars out and then cut them.

  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate.
  2. When  chocolate is almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Transfer chocolate to a mixing bowl, and stir in sugar.
  4. Beat in 4 eggs.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt.
  6. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture just until combined.
  7. Fold in ½ cup chocolate chips.


  1. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
  2. Bake until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean. Start checking after 30 minutes baking.
  3. Cool completely in the baking dish.
These are VERY rich. I gave the husband one that I mangled when removing it from the pan. (It's upside down here.) He only managed a few bites. I recommend cutting these into small squares to serve.


This filling is delicious. I'm already trying to think of other ways to use it.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 ½ cups mashed sweet potato
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup flour
½ cup pecan pieces
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips



  1. Cream together the cheese and butter.
  2. Add sweet potato and mix until combined.
  3. Add cinnamon and both sugars. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add 1 cup flour and stir until completely combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
  6. Spread over completely cooled brownies.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before adding final layer.

This is essentially a chocolate ganache with a few extra ingredients, notably butter, to give it a silky-smooth texture and to help it solidify on top of the bars.

¾ cup cream
6 tablespoons butter, softened
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt


  1. Put the butter and the cream in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. Put the chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Heat saucepan until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is steaming.
  4. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  5. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes before pouring over sweet potato layer.
  6. Return pan to refrigerator until well chilled.

Looking a little worse for wear because they were so difficult to remove from the pan. Still delicious though.

When brownie bars have chilled, cut into squares and serve cold.

Thoughts for next time I make these:
  • I wonder what these would be like without brown sugar (using only granulated sugar) in the filling. Before I added the brown sugar, the filling mixture was a gorgeous pale orange. That color would look wonderful in the finished bar.
  • I would probably use more flour and/or more butter in the filling. I was adapting from a cookie dough recipe (see link below). I wanted the texture of the original bar, but I wanted it to taste like sweet potato pie filling instead of cookie dough. I added cream cheese, added sweet potato, reduced the butter, and halved the flour. Although I was testing and reassessing the consistency as I went, I'm still dissatisfied with the finished filling. It should be more solid, less gloopy. Did I mention that it tastes great despite these imperfections in appearance?

Brownies and chocolate glaze adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, Tenth Anniversary Edition.

Sweet potato filling adapted from Cookie Dough Brownies by Cookies and Cups, which was also the inspiration for this way this treat is layered.


  1. Congrats on your blog! I have just started another one too! Everything looks so scrumptious and great topics! Happy Holidays!

  2. Thanks, Pam. A new blog is always an exciting venture. Best of luck with yours and Happy Holidays!

  3. I love sneaking healthy things into family favorites, love your recipe, these brownies look so good too.

  4. I love sweet potatoes too, these look delicious.

  5. You have no idea how much I'm addicted to sweet potatoes...these brownies. are way over the top!
    Absolutely yummy, and beautiful. Thanks for commenting on my blog...and thanks, for sharing!

  6. Hello,

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  7. Wow!I haven't tried using sweet potato for brownies before.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this sweet potato widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about sweet potato,Thanks!