Kid-friendly Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies+Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting+Cocoa Sweet Potato Shakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies + Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting + Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes

Family Meal Plan: Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies+Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting+Cocoa Sweet Potato Shakes

Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies + Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting + Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by ElenaChaykinaPhotography/Shutterstock.com
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
70 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies

Are you ready to make a healthy sweet? Do you ever get tired of hearing about all the foods that are bad for you? And don't those foods always seem to be what we love and crave the most? But let's look at the bright side. There are some goodies we all love that are actually good for us! Number One: Chocolate! Did you know that chocolate is good for your heart? Just 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 3 to 9 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. In addition to carrying oxygen through your system, iron helps make your body function well and is essential for your immune system. Chocolate is a fabulous treat, and we can make it even more healthy-ish in our Sticky Fingers Cooking classes and recipes! 

I hope you all like brownies. Who doesn't like brownies? These moist, super-chocolatey sweet potato brownies are filled with fiber, vitamins A and B6, and potassium. In addition, they're super easy and fun to make with only a handful of simple ingredients! For more sweet potato and chocolate goodness, you can also make Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting and Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes (see recipes). The shakes include bananas, and they have a rich and creamy texture. Do we ever get tired of hearing about all the foods that are bad for us? Not anymore!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or 1 15-oz can cut or puréed unsweetened sweet potato
  • 3 bananas (additional 1/2 banana for egg sub)
  • DAIRY AND EGGS
  • 3/4 C butter **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 eggs **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 1 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (additional 1 tsp baking soda for egg sub)
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C chocolate chips **(see allergy subs below)**
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • vegetable oil or cooking spray to grease pan
  • 4 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • mash :

    to reduce food, like potatoes or bananas, to a soft, pulpy state by beating or pressure.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • spread :

    to apply a food, like butter, soft cheese, nut butter, jam, or frosting to another food, such as a cracker, bread, or cake using a butter knife or spatula.

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • 8" x 8" square baking pan
  • Large saucepan (if boiling fresh sweet potato)
  • Can opener (if using canned sweet potato)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Large mixing bowls (2)
  • Potato masher
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Immersion blender or handheld electric mixer (optional)
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Ingredients

Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies

  • 1 large fresh sweet potato for 1 C cooked (or canned cut or puréed unsweetened sweet potato)
  • 1/2 C butter, softened **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance)**
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation flavor—check label)**
  • 2 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1/2 mashed banana + 1 tsp baking soda)**
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob chips, and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil or cooking spray to grease pan

Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting

  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 T cooked (or canned) sweet potato
  • 3 T butter, softened **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance)**
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation flavor—check label)**
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips, optional **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY or sub carob chips, and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**

Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes

  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 C cooked (or canned) sweet potato
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation flavor—check label)**
  • 4 C ice
  • 1 small handful of chocolate chips, optional **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY or sub carob chips, and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, for butter. Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Egg: For 2 eggs, substitute 1/2 mashed banana + 1 tsp baking soda.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Nut: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, for butter. Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.
  • Nut: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Dairy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Nut: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Instructions

Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies

1.
cook + cool

Cook 1 large sweet potato, either by boiling or baking until very tender. Set aside to cool. If you're also making Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting and Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes (see recipes) as part of a meal plan, cook 2 sweet potatoes to divide among the three recipes. (To save time, you can use canned unsweetened sweet potatoes.)

2.
boil

To boil, chop sweet potatoes into large chunks. Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes, bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a knife.

3.
bake

To bake the sweet potato, preheat the oven to 400 F and bake for 45 minutes or more. When done, the outside of the potato will have darkened and the inside will be soft.

4.
preheat + peel + chop

Preheat your oven to 350 F to bake the brownies. Peel off the skin and chop your cooked sweet potato into chunks (if not already cut or using canned).

5.
measure + mash

Measure out 1 cup of cooked or canned sweet potato and add to a large bowl. Mash until smooth (if not using canned sweet potato purée).

6.
add + whisk

Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the bowl: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Whisk them together.

7.
measure + combine + mix

Measure and combine the dry ingredients in a separate large bowl: 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix very well, making sure that the baking soda is evenly distributed.

8.
add + whisk

Add the dry ingredients into the wet (not the other way around—this will make a more delicate brownie!). Whisk brownie mixture until smooth.

9.
pour + bake

Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8" x 8" pan and pop it into your preheated oven to bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. When the brownie edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, they are done.

10.
cool + frost

Once the brownies have finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. You can eat them plain or spread frosting, like Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting (see recipe), over the brownies and sprinkle with a few chocolate chips, if you like. Cut them into squares and enjoy!

Super Simple Sweet Potato Frosting

1.
measure + combine + whisk

Measure and combine 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.

2.
add + blend + spread

Add 3 tablespoons mashed cooked sweet potato, 3 tablespoons softened butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend until smooth (by hand or use an immersion blender or handheld electric mixer). Spread over cooled cupcakes or brownies, like Sassy Sweet Potato Brownies (see recipe), and sprinkle 1 handful of chocolate chips on top, if you like!

Cocoa Sweet Potato Power Shakes

1.
peel + chop + add

Peel 3 bananas and chop into small pieces. Chop up 1/4 cup cooked sweet potatoes. Add chopped bananas and sweet potatoes to your blender or a pitcher for use with an immersion blender.

2.
add + blend

Add 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and blend. Next, add 1 small handful of chocolate chips, if you like, and blend some more. Finally, add 4 cups of ice, little by little, and blend until the shake is thick and smooth. Enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Sweet Potato!

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Photo by yamasan0708/Shutterstock.com

Hi!  I’m Sweet Potato!

"Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, like beets and carrots! We're very popular in the Fall, especially for holiday dinners, where you might find us baked whole or sliced and diced as part of a side dish. We also pair well with fruit and other vegetables in salads and casseroles."

History

  • The sweet potato originated in Central or South America, and people began cultivating them in Central America at least 5,000 years ago. 
  • Sweet potatoes have been grown in Peru for almost 3,000 years and remain one of the major crops for people in Peru.
  • When Columbus arrived in the New World, Native Americans were already growing and utilizing sweet potatoes. Columbus brought sweet potatoes back to Europe, and other explorers brought them from the New World to Asia.
  • Sweet potatoes were cultivated widely in Colonial America and were a significant form of sustenance for farmers and soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
  • As far as records show, orange sweet potatoes originally came from Puerto Rico and were named "yams" by Louisiana farmers to differentiate them from the white-fleshed variety grown in other parts of the country. Indeed, the sweet potato is officially the state vegetable of Louisiana! It's also North Carolina's official state vegetable.
  • George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  • North American supermarkets import much of their sweet potatoes from the Caribbean.
  • February is National Sweet Potato month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Sweet potatoes are edible roots, not tubers like potatoes. Actually, sweet potatoes aren't related to potatoes but are part of the Morning Glory family. Plants from this family produce beautiful flowers whose seeds were revered for their laxative properties by the Chinese.
  • The flesh of sweet potatoes can be white, yellow, orange, or even purple! 
  • Enslaved African-Аmericans called the sweet potato "nyami" because it reminded them of the starchy, edible tuber from their homeland. "Nyami" is a Senegalese word that was eventually shortened to "yam." Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, and this is why!

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Sweet potatoes are eaten by people worldwide as they are a hearty crop that packs a lot of nutrition.
  • It's best to store sweet potatoes in cool, dark, and dry places. They won't last as long in the fridge. 
  • Small, firm sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter and creamier. Large sweet potatoes contain more starch, as they've had more time to grow and develop the starches. Look for smooth, firm, even skin.
  • Sweet potatoes should be cooked, not eaten raw. You can use them in many savory and sweet recipes.
  • Sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish—you can bake, mash, or boil them—and their nutritional benefits are increased when combined with healthy fats, like avocado, butter, or olive oil!
  • If they had their say, sweet potatoes might like to be known as everyday veggies rather than just for special occasions. For example, we in the United States eat more sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving than at any other time. But sweet potatoes are available year-round and should be enjoyed more often because of their benefits!

Nutrition

  • Sweet potatoes are very nutritious! Their color can tell us which nutrients they contain (like many vegetables and fruits!). 
  • If a sweet potato is orange, it contains beta-carotene (other orange foods that contain this nutrient include carrots, shrimp, and oranges). Can you hear the name of a familiar vegetable in the word "beta-carotene?" Carrot! We know that beta-carotene is good for our eyes and skin. Have you ever been asked to eat your carrots because they are good for your eyes? Beta-carotene is why! 
  • Sweet potatoes also have vitamin K, which helps our blood clot. When we get a cut, our blood clots to stop the bleeding, and vitamin K helps with this!
  • We often talk about fiber when we reveal our Surprise Ingredients because vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Sweet potatoes are no exception. So what does fiber help with? Digestion! And which body parts are responsible for digestion? Many, but namely our stomach and intestines.

History of Brownies!

Photo by Saveurs Secretes
  • The brownie, one of our favorite desserts, was created in the United States. 
  • Numerous legends surround the origin of the brownie. One tale is of a housewife in Bangor, Maine, who forgot to add baking powder while making a chocolate cake. So when her cake didn't rise properly, instead of tossing it out, she cut and served the flat pieces. The most accepted story, though, is that the brownie was created in 1893 by a chef at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, at the request of the owner's wife for a cake-like dessert that could be part of a boxed lunch for ladies attending an exposition, or world's fair, in the city. 
  • The first printed version of a brownie dessert was in an 1896 cookbook by Fannie Farmer, although it used molasses, not cocoa, in the recipe. A chocolate brownie recipe first appeared in a cookbook in 1904.
  • There are thousands of brownie recipes, both "cake" and "fudge" types. Either type is perfectly correct—and delicious. Of course, the brownie probably got its name from its chocolate brown color, but there is also a light-colored version without cocoa called a "blondie."

Let's Learn About the United States!

Photo by JeniFoto/Shutterstock.com (July 4th Picnic)
  • Most of the United States of America (USA) is in North America. It shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. It consists of 50 states, 1 federal district, 5 territories, 9 Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. 
  • The country's total area is 3,796,742 square miles, globally the third largest after Russia and Canada. The US population is over 333 million, making it the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
  • The United States of America declared itself an independent nation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Revolutionary War between the US and Great Britain was fought from 1775-1783. We only had 13 colonies at that time! On September 9, 1976, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and declared that the new nation would be called the United States. 
  • The 13 colonies became states after each ratified the constitution of the new United States, with Delaware being the first on December 7, 1787.  
  • The 13 stripes on the US flag represent those first 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent our 50 states. The red color of the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes innocence and purity, and blue symbolizes vigilance and justice.
  • Before settling in Washington DC, a federal district, the nation's capital resided in New York City and then Philadelphia for a short time. New York City is the largest city in the US and is considered its financial center. 
  • The US does not have a recognized official language! However, English is effectively the national language. 
  • The American dollar is the national currency. The nickname for a dollar, "buck," comes from colonial times when people traded goods for buckskins!
  • Because the United States is so large, there is a wide variety of climates and types of geography. The Mississippi/Missouri River, running primarily north to south, is the fourth-longest river system in the world. On the east side of the Mississippi are the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and the East Coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • On the west side of the Mississippi are the flat Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains (or Rockies), and the West Coast, next to the Pacific Ocean, with several more mountain ranges in coastal states, such as the Sierras and the Cascades. Between the coasts and the north and south borders are several forests, lakes (including the Great Lakes), rivers, swamps, deserts, and volcanos. 
  • Several animals are unique to the US, such as the American bison (or American buffalo), the bald eagle, the California condor, the American black bear, the groundhog, the American alligator, and the pronghorn (or American antelope). 
  • The US has 63 national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River flowing through it, are among the most well-known and visited.
  • Cuisine in the US was influenced early on by the indigenous people of North America who lived there before Europeans arrived. They introduced beans, corn, potatoes, squash, berries, fish, turkey, venison, dried meats, and more to the new settlers. Other influences include the widely varied foods and dishes of enslaved people from Africa and immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in the United States?

  • Education is compulsory in the US, and kids may go to a public or private school or be home-schooled. Most schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but some private schools do. The school year runs from mid-August or the beginning of September to the end of May or the middle of June.
  • Kids generally start school at about five years old in kindergarten or earlier in preschool and continue through 12th grade in high school. After that, many go on to university, community college, or technical school. 
  • Spanish, French, and German are the most popular foreign languages kids learn in US schools. 
  • Kids may participate in many different school and after-school sports, including baseball, soccer, American football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and track and field. In grade school, kids may join in playground games like hopscotch, four-square, kickball, tetherball, jump rope, or tag.
  • There are several fun activities that American kids enjoy doing with their friends and families, such as picnicking, hiking, going to the beach or swimming, or going to children's and natural history museums, zoos and wild animal parks, amusement parks, water parks, state parks, or national parks. Popular amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney World, Legoland, Six Flags, and Universal Studios.
  • On Independence Day or the 4th of July, kids enjoy a day off from school, picnicking, and watching fireworks with their families. 
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November when students get 2 to 5 days off school. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are popular December holidays, and there are 2 or 3 weeks of winter vacation. Easter is celebrated in March, April, or May, and kids enjoy a week of spring recess around that time.  
  • Barbecued hot dogs or hamburgers, watermelon, apple pie, and ice cream are popular kid foods for 4th of July celebrations. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Birthday parties with cake and ice cream are very important celebrations for kids in the United States!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 

Cocoa-Nuts!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a sweet potato that is reluctant to jump into boiling water? 

Hez A Tator

THYME for a Laugh

What kind of key opens a banana? 

A mon-key!

That's Berry Funny

Why shouldn’t you tell a secret on a farm? 

Because the sweet potatoes have eyes and the corn has ears.

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a baby sweet potato? 

A small fry!

THYME for a Laugh

Why do sweet potatoes make good detectives? 

Because they keep their eyes peeled.

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you say to an angry sweet potato? 

Anything, just butter him up first.

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

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