One of my favorite things about cooking and baking is the opportunity to experiment. I try all kinds of recipes, usually starting with one I find on a blog or in a book, but I never follow them to the letter. Over the years, I’ve learned what spices I like and what ingredients complement each other, and I usually have a few personal touches to add to even the most meticulously-tested recipe. Every time I bake, I see it as a chance to try something a little different–I don’t even faithfully follow my own recipes.
Case in point: these Spooky Swirl Brownies, a new paleo Halloween recipe.
With Halloween coming up in less than two weeks, I wanted to bake a paleo dessert with the charm of my favorite Halloween candies: bright red Fireballs, neon green sour straws, and other colorful junk food. When I saw purple sweet potatoes pop up at my grocery store (something that magically happens once every few months), it was time for a new experiment.
In the past, I’ve made many batches of Pumpkin Swirl Brownies and Sweet Potato Brownies, and I’ve used purple sweet potatoes to make these Purple Sweet Potato Muffins. I wanted to try something different without straying too far from brownies, a dessert that always gets raves no matter what diet the person eating follows, and so I stuck pretty close to my pumpkin swirl brownie recipe. The purple sweet potato is denser than its orange relative, so the batter is thicker and the resulting brownies are fudgier…a trade-off I’m happy to make.
While all the adults who tried one of these brownies enjoyed them, I think these would be most fun to make with kids. What better way to convince them that vegetables can be fun to eat than to make bright purple goo and turn it into a dessert? The recipe has some kid-friendly tasks like spreading batter layers and swirling; just make sure an adult is the one to use the oven and the food processor!
Where to Find Purple Sweet Potatoes & Puree
I got this question when I posted the purple sweet potato muffins, too. As I mentioned, I find them every few months at Mariano’s, a grocery chain in the Chicago area. I’ve also found them at Joong Boo, a Asian market in Chicago, and readers have suggested looking at ethnic grocery stores in whatever city you live in. If you have suggestions for other national chains that might stock them, please leave them in the comments to help others out!
You can make purple sweet potato puree at home by baking medium purple sweet potatoes potatoes directly on an oven rack at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. I put a sheet of foil on the rack below to catch any sugary drips while baking. Let baked potatoes cool, then remove baked potato from skin and process on high in a food processor until smooth.
What’s your favorite Halloween treat, paleo or not? Have you ever baked with purple sweet potatoes?
P.S. I’d say the second picture is actually a truer reflection of the puree’s color than the first. The light was better when the second photo was taken, and the purple color also becomes less bright when mixed with other brownie ingredients and baked again. The top crust of the brownies remains purple but in some areas begins to turn orange where it is baked–the same way a chocolate chip cookie turns golden brown as it bakes.