Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Spiced Sweet Potato Snack Cake

Now that the holidays have been over for a while, it's time to resume our monthly stitch 'n' bitch meetings. Every month my girls and I get together to work on knitting projects and to talk about life. All of the meetings so far have been at my house, so I have been supplying the snacks. Usually, there is one savory snack in the form of a dip of some sort, and a sweet treat. The sweet is usually a bar cookie or brownie, and I try to make sure I do something completely different every month.

I keep wanting to make a blondie that comes out with a chewy texture. Seems that the only way to do that is to make bar cookies with a Toll House cookie-type batter. Dry additions are ok, but adding wet stuff, like pumpkin or shredded carrots, changes the texture completely. But I do it anyway. I suppose it doesn't matter that the texture isn't exactly what I want--the end result of all of my various experiments has still been delicious.

I almost ended up with something close to what I was looking for last month. Lots of butter + sugar and not so much flour should make a rich, chewy, vanilla "brownie" sort of snack. But then I found that container of mashed sweet potato in the fridge, left over from something I had made earlier in the week. It was completely unseasoned, and would go to waste otherwise, so it went into the batter, too. I also tossed in the last of a bag of Heath bar chips and some pecans. For flavoring, I was lazy--hey, it was Friday night, after a looong week--so instead of measuring out individual spices, I just tossed in some instant chai mix.

The end result was pretty damn good. While not exactly chewy, the sweet potato-enriched bars were super moist, lightly spiced, with little surprises of nuts and buttery toffee bits. Great served a room temperature, but simply smashing served warm with a dollop of ice cream on top.

These might be a good way to sneak some nutritious vegetables into an item the kids will eat, too.

Spiced Sweet Potato Snack Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons instant chai tea mix
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" square baking pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and sweet potato.

Mix together the flour, chai mix, and salt. Stir into the butter/sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in the toffee bits and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just a few moist crumbs cling to an inserted toothpick.

Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top to add a bit of contrast to the shades of mid-brown.

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