Well hello there! It’s been a while, I know. Over a week. I hardly want to think about how long I’ve abandoned you. Not because you missed me (heck, if you’re anything like me, one less item in your Google reader is a good thing) but because I’ve missed you. And I’m totally not doing my job of dreaming up new yummies and sharing them with you. Not to say the dreaming isn’t happening – but laziness is taking over when it comes to actual execution.

I’m blaming it on the cold from hell. Do colds come from hell? This one feels like it did, two days before Rosh Hashanah and still lingering. Do know what’s it’s like to prepare dinner for 12 when you can’t breathe/smell/taste? Don’t worry, I washed my hands about 7 bajillion times. I always say I *never* get sick but something is going on. I blame it on the sudden (welcome) change in season. Maybe I’m in the clear, or maybe the fact that it’s going to be 70-something┬║ again this weekend and then cool off again is going to hit me like another ton of bricks. Don’t get me wrong, having four distinct seasons is something I’d absolutely miss if I ever moved away from New England. But it’s this blurry in-between-the-lines stuff that can drive one crazy. I just want to be living in legging and sweaters right now, without having to resort to shorts and flip flops on a random Tuesday, is that so much to ask?

Anyway. I have this theory. If you cook it, it shall come. Cook like fall has arrived in full-force and maybe, just maybe, it will stick around for good. I whipped up these Sweet Potato Blondies when I was feeling very fall and over-buying sweet potatoes for a couple other recipes I’ve been tinkering with. With these. there was very little tinkering. I hit ‘em on the first try – though I didn’t quite realize it until after they had sit in the fridge for a day. That’s right, these are the kind of sweet that gets better with age, transforming from something a little spongy (as many coconut flour baked goods are) into a chewy bite with a hearty crumb you can really sink your teeth into. One that’s laced with just the right amount of spice, not too much sweet, and surprise hunks of dark chocolate.

Now, I probably should have started with a diatribe about brownie recipes that call for an 8×8″ pan and claim 25+ servings. To see a feature last spring or winter in a popular supposedly-healthy cooking magazine with three decadent brownie recipes sent me on this little tirade. There was nothing healthy about these recipes except that they were cut into miniscule crumbs. I doubt I’m not the only one that needs help with portion control, but I would have also appreciated seeing some more healthful grains tossed in besides regular ol’ flour and perhaps some more nutrient-dense natural sweeteners in place of white or brown sugar. Of course if you take a “regular” brownie or blondie recipe and slice it up into tiny bites, it’s going to have less calories – but I can guarantee you that I’m just going to eat more of them!

So. If you’re wondering why I cut this 8×8″ pan of blondies into 25 pieces, it’s because I was a tad bit nervous about the nutritional content, having some skewed idea that even those little pieces would be quite the indulgence. The truth? Not so much. Once you see the nutritionals on this one, you’ll feel a-ok taking a second, or a third, still knowing that those three pieces are a heck of a lot better for you than any “regular” blondie. Not to mention that they’re filled with such good-for-you ingredients magically united into something so sweetly perfect for fall. Now that’s my kind of blondie.

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Spicy Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Bars

Yield: 25 pieces

Lightly sweet, perfectly spiced sweet potato blondies with hunks of dark chocolate. Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free, and one hundred percent delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup (packed) cooked, mashed sweet potato (225gm)
3 tablespoons (45gm) almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (56gm) coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
heaping 1/3 cup (45gm) chopped dark chocolate (70% or greater)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350┬║F.

In a food processor fitted with steel blade, blend together the sweet potato, almond butter, and maple syrup until smooth. Add eggs one a time, processing until smooth and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add vanilla, spices and baking soda, and blend again.

Add coconut flour, and pulse to combine. The mixture will become thick and spongy. Add almond milk and process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add chopped chocolate and pulse to combine.

Spray a 9x9" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool and slice. Store the bars covered in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 55.0
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 22.2 mg
Sodium 37.6 mg
Potassium 72.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Protein 1.7 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.