Sweet Potato Espresso Brownies


You’ll have to trust me on this one… these brownies are amazing. Really. And the lucky people you serve them to will never know they are eating unsweetened cocoa, whole wheat flour and sweet potato puree. I promise.

It will be our little secret.

This is an easy recipe from Whole Living magazine (no electric mixer required). I made two changes. First, I substituted a packet of VIA from Starbucks for the instant espresso powder (the best use I have found so far for VIA is baking). And second, I substituted regular whole wheat flour for whole wheat pastry flour, because I am short on cupboard space and I didn’t feel like buying another bag of flour just to make a batch of brownies.  The substitutions worked beautifully… what I got was rich, moist cocoa brownies with the perfect flavor combination of coffee and chocolate.

According to the original recipe, each brownie only has 148 calories. So go ahead and eat a couple. You know I did!


Sweet Potato Espresso Brownies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: A Passionate Plate / Adapted from Whole Living
Serves: 12
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup regular whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweet potato puree*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder**
  • * If you can’t find canned sweet potato puree at your grocery store, make your own by using a baked sweet potato or a can of whole sweet potatoes. Puree in a food processor until smooth.
  • ** I substituted an entire package of Starbucks instant VIA coffee for the espresso powder.
  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a square 8″ baking pan by buttering it or spraying with non-stick baker’s spray. Set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar and sweet potato puree. Add the egg and mix to combine thoroughly. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the vanilla extract with the instant coffee until the coffee is disolved. Set aside.
  4. Stirring the cocoa powder into the butter
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. The mixture will be thick. Stir in the vanilla mixture. Add the sweet potato batter to the cocoa mixture and stir well until the batter is uniform in color. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Under 150 calories per square!
  7. Bake the brownies at 350 degrees until the top looks dry and an inserted knife comes out with just a few moist crumbs – 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Cool to room temperature before serving.



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  2. chacha says:

    Well I did them again. LOL Only this time I used fresh sweet potato. Yes I always add cinnamon to anything with sweet potatoes. The expresso powder ground fine in coffee grinder gives choc. a great flavor also. Easy way to do potato is peel & slice in 1/4 in slices and put on microwave plate sprinkle with 1 T. water and cover with waxed paper loosely 6-7 min in microwave and let cool then add to egg and mix its much faster and no boiling or baking the potato. I also added honey instead of sugar. Instead of vanilla I used Rose Water. The flavors are outstanding. BTW no nuts as it would have taken away from all the flavors. TKS AGAIN for this recipe.

  3. chacha says:

    This is an AWESOME RECIPE. I made it this am. but added pinch of ground chili pepper in the choc. mix along with caramel sauce in center and swirled it then the top layer and cut the sugar to 3/4 c. OMG this is the only recipe I will be using from now on. Next time Ill ad some nuts. BETTER THAN A BOX MIX AND HEALTHIER TO BOOT. The eftover pumpkin I will use for my shakes.

    • MaryMiller says:

      I agree with you! This is going to be my go-to recipe for brownies from now on. It is such an easy recipe and the brownies are incredibly moist and rich. I love your idea about the ground chili pepper. I love chiles and chocolate. Thanks for commenting…

  4. Helen Oswald says:

    When I read this recipe, I just knew I had to try it. Having all the ingredients on hand , even a sweet potato (made my own puree) and instant espresso powder was a small miracle! Believe me, they are even more delicious than they look in the picture! If you buy espresso powder just for this recipe and have lots leftover, think of adding a teaspoon or two to your next batch of chocolate chip cookies!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Next month we are focusing on foods that say “LOVE”. I can’t think of anything better than espresso chocolate chip cookies… will have to put this on the list. I am so glad you enjoyed the brownies as much as I did!!

  5. Angela says:

    Hi Mary,

    Is the espresso a must? I make a chocolate chip cheesecake that calls for espresso but since were really not big coffee + food fans I omit it and the cake is delic! Let me know your thoughts.


    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Angela – I have not tried this without the espresso (I am a huge coffee lover), but I am sure it will not be a problem at all for you. There is so little of it in the recipe that I don’t believe it would impact the texture or baking at all. Would love to hear how they taste without it!

  6. margretta says:

    Oh my! These look soooo good! I loved all your Lunar New Year recipes as well. That was such a good idea and beautiful photos.

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