Thursday, November 12, 2009

Month of Vegan Cookies: Sweet Potato Blondies (Plus Cookbook Giveaway)

2009.11.08 Sweet Potato Blondies

You may not realize it yet, but a revolution is afoot. I've got 2 words for you: vegan cookies. Here's the deal. Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, the same vegan mavens who gave us my favorite cupcake book, have just unleashed the cookie equivalent. I suspect they know that everything's cuter in pairs (smart ladies!). Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar holds a gorgeous collection of egg and dairy-free recipes for everything from old favorites (like chocolate chip cookies, fudgy brownies, and NYC black & whites) to what're bound to become new classics (like Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles and Irish creme kisses). Even adaptations of some store-bought cookies, including Lazy Samoas and Nutter Betters, make an appearance.


By now, you can probably see why I've been salivating since this book arrived last week. In the meantime, I've come up with a plan of action and hope you'll follow along with me!

THE PLAN: I'll bake 4 cookies from Vegan Cookies in celebration of its release, post a review shortly thereafter, and also give away some free copies of it. If you'd like to win one of 3 copies of this book, simply leave a comment including a way to contact you on any post in this series, including this one. I'll pick the winners randomly and announce them together with my review.


Just in the last week it seems, the leaves in my neighborhood have all turned brilliant hues. Inspired by the season, I chose these Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies as my first. Isa and Terry recommend trying the recipe without chocolate "for really gorgeous sweet potato flavor" and they were right. These bars struck a beautiful balance between the autumnal spices and earthy sweet potato. Probably due to my pan choice (my fault, not the recipe's), the blondies were a bit more gooey than I like. All-in-all still an excellent, unique, and indulgent fall treat. They'll definitely be made again with adjustments for texture.

FLAVOR: 4.5/5
TEXTURE: 3/5
EASE OF PREPARATION: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4/5


2009.11.08 Sweet Potato Blondies

Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies [Printable Recipe]
Reproduced with permission (Isa rocks!) from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
with my comments/changes in brackets
Makes 1 8 x 8-inch pan or 12 to 16 blondies, depending on how you cut them

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I used Pyrex glass because that's all I had and so should probably have baked these slightly longer. Also, I stuck with aluminum foil (Pun intended? Yea I'm a dork.) to stay faithful to the recipe, but next time I think I'll really stay with my MO and use parchment since the bars clung to the foil a little.

3/4 cup cooked, well-mashed, orange-colored sweet potato (less than 1 lb raw)
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar [I think you could even reduce this slightly with no detriment to taste]
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup nondairy milk [I used soymilk]
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups unbleached [all-purpose] flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts [I used pecans]
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Line an 8 x 8-inch square metal brownie pan with enough aluminum foil so that it folds over the sides of the pan by about an inch. Spray the bottom of the covered pan with a little nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potato, oil, sugar, brown sugar, nondairy milk, and vanilla until smooth. A few tiny chunks of sweet potato are okay.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Mix just enough to moisten, then fold in the nuts and chocolate chips, if using. Do not overmix.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula [metal works too]. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, checking the bars at 28 minutes by poking a toothpick into the center of the cake. Bars are done if a toothpick comes out mostly clean; a few moist crumbles here and there are okay. Take care not to overbake. Allow the blondies to cool at least 30 minutes for the texture and flavor to fully develop, then slice into 12 bars. Store in a covered container.

MORSELS: A regular old fork is probably the best sweet potato mashing device ever made. Just mash away until it's as creamy as you can get it.

NEXT UP IN THIS SERIES: Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies

64 comments:

  1. These look great! I would love to win this book!

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  2. Oh gosh, I love anything sweet potato, and the idea of combining that venerable root veggie with blondie brownies is ingenious! As a fellow fan of VCTOtW, there are few things I'd love more than to own this book too! Thanks for running this contest, and for the amazing photos / reviews / recipes!

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  3. Love your photos and the blondies look yummy. I myself have never made a blondie, but I have seen them a lot online - I must try them!

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  4. It is always refreshing to see a vegan recipe that calls for regular pantry items. Some require a trip to the natural food store when it's so much easier for me to just go to the grocery...

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  5. So really, you had me at sweet potato. And then the blondie part didn't hurt! these look and sound amazing. I am so bookmarking them!!

    This cookbook also sounds great. I haven't made anything from the cupcake cookbook yet but I'm getting there...

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  6. I eat sweet potatoes daily and bake blondies often, so I'm all over that recipe! I would love to have that cookbook.

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  7. Oh wow, I never would've thought of using sweet potatoes to make blondies. My mouth is salivating just looking at your photos!

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  8. Yum! Anything using Sweet Potato's is good in my book! Especially treats. Sign me up for a chance to win this cool book!

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  9. What an unusual idea. Sounds like it turns out great though!

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  10. These look yum. I want this cookbook!

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  11. Very excited about finding your blog and especially this post. I'm in a transition to vegan from being a veggie and Isa's Vegan with a Vengeance is fast becoming my bible - I didn't realise vegan food would be so delicious!! I've already tried her chocolate muffins - which were amazing - and I was about to order the cupcake book. Now to find out there's a cookie one too is fabulous news. Just can't wait to try out these recipes!

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  12. I would love to win this- thank you for the opportunity.

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  13. I would love to have this book. It looks awesome! And this recipe looks delicious as well.

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  14. Great giveaway! Thanks! I will eat anything with sweet potato...it makes this recipe "healthy" right? :P

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  15. I truly love sweet potato, so I can't wait to give this a try. Are they firm or really sticky? I might try with a little less oil, but I don't want mush either. I've heard the cookbook is fantastic.
    Twin Tables.

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  16. I love cookbooks! And cookies. I think i'll try these to bring to my sister's for thanksgiving
    rbnelson2@wisc.edu

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  17. i want this cookbook. and a baked sweet potato.

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  18. I've become obsessed with sweet potatoes. I practically fantasize about the next time I'll get to eat sweet potatoes. I would be concerned about myself, except, hey, it's sweet potatoes--nothing can be wrong with that kind of infatuation!

    Since my roommate is vegan, I've also been on the lookout for good vegan recipes, so this is great on both accounts. Wouldn't mind having the cookbook, either.

    kas1@williams.edu

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  19. Those look amazing!! I so want this book now!

    neverseenblue@hotmail.com

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  20. i'd love to win you can contact me through my blog thanks

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  21. I'd love to win this book! I loooove sweet potatoes; I'm definitely going to make these! My email is meaghanking[at]gmail[dot]com

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  22. oh my. they are calling my name. now if only i could find an oven around here..

    jul (at) kepyklapenki (dot) lt

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  23. these sound awesome -- i think i would add some maple flavor (syrup, fenugreek)

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  24. Would I love to have that cookbook. I swear I've tried a half dozen vegan blondies recipes in the past year and all I got in return was goop! To be honest though, they also had to be made gluten free; however, I'll bet those blondies and the vegan lemon bars alone worth the price of admission. Oh yeah, I'm at laurelvanblarcum at sbcglobal dot net. Sweet potato blondies, I must be in heaven.

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  25. I love fall/fall flavors and using sweet potatoes in ways I never have before :) These looks great.

    mvanderp@olivet.edu

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  26. I'd love to win this book! All the recipes sound delicious.

    kara_lynn_3118@yahoo.com

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  27. These blondies look totally delicious! I'd love to learn how to make vegan cookies that taste as good as these look. :)

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  28. I love sweet potatoes and I would love to win a copy

    ssambo@web.de

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  29. found this through foodgawker- and i am quite glad i did!

    hsunamisweets@gmail.com

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  30. mmm I have been in a sweet potato mood all fall, these sound like something i would love to try!!

    h11m01w88@hotmail.com

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  31. Wow! Thank you all for your enthusiastic response. If you're a fan of sweet potaters (and many of you sound like you are), I really think you'll dig this.

    Teresa - I know exactly what you mean. It's fairly easy to get more unusual ingredients in my area, but it's a hassle to make that extra trip when you want cookies NOW. This book really seems to make an effort to use common ingredients.

    Joanne - No rush but I do hope you love it!

    Frances - Good luck with the transition. I'm not vegan myself but I really admire many of you who are. I have VWaV too and will now have to check out the chocolate muffins. Please do get the cupcake book. Ah-mazing.

    Danielle - Yep, veggies make everything healthy =p.

    Melissa - Mine did turn out pretty sticky but the edges were nice and chewy so I think a little longer baking time will do the trick.

    laurelvb - I'm sorry your previous blondies didn't turn out. These are still on the cakey/soft end but very yummy. FYI this book has tips for making any of the recipes GF.

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  32. The book looks and sound delicious.

    orchidee33@web.de

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  33. Awesome giveaway! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book - I love cookies!

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  34. I SOOO need this book! My son is vegan and I am at such a loss to cook this way..This sounds like a very helpful book for me...

    Carlenesworld@gmail.com

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  35. I love cookies and sweet potatoes.

    chiochio22@yahoo.de

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  36. I cannot wait to try these bars. I think i might switch up pumpkin for the sweet potato and double the spices. they look fantastic. thank you.

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  37. Sweet give away and sweet cookbook!

    ssambo@hotmail.de

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  38. I am so impressed by all these alternative baking recipes. I was only thinking the other day about investigating some options. Even though am not restricted by foods, because of ethics or allergies, it's fantastic all these new ideas for people so they don't have to go without.

    Would definitely be interested in this giveaway - would be a great theme for a month! If I win, you can contact me through my blog, or Twitter!

    http://www.melangerbaking.com
    http://twitter.com/melangerbaking

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  39. I would just absolutely love love love this book. I'm pretty sure I NEED this book :)

    scartsy@aol.com

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  40. Those blondies do look fabulous! I tend to like my blondies on the fudgy-side, but I don't know if it is your pan. I have had issues with some of Isa's cookie/bar type recipes ending up too gooey before. Still, sounds like a great cookbook!

    http://www.twitter.com/onefrugalfoodie

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  41. Hmmmm sweet potato blondies?!!??! Sounds so intriguing! Looks delicious though!

    mmai.huynh@gmail.com

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  42. Yummers! How can these not be good? Will have to try very soon.

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  43. Oh I wish, I wish I I could be the winner of the cookiebook! Because I'm the biggest cookiemonster!

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  44. hooray for vegan cookies!! those blondies look yummers!!

    rachelobermiller@gmail.com

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  45. These look great - almost like fudge! I can't wait to try them.

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  46. Mmmmm vegan cookies! those blondies look yummy!
    andreagiacomi@yahoo.com

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  47. Sweet potato blondies! How intriguing. I look forward to seeing what else you bake from this cookbook & would love to win a copy!

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  48. so excited about this book! would be thrilled to win a copy!
    serenadskyATgmailDOTcom

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  49. These blondies look amazing! It sounds like a cookbook I would love to bake from!

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  50. I would love to win a vegan baking book.
    Thank you for the giveaway.

    tamar at meser dot net

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  51. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
    謝謝你的文章分享,請你有空到我

    參觀,Thanks

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  52. I made these yesterday, to use up some leftover prepared, T-giving sweet potatoes from the weekend. They were simple enough to make (doubled the recipe in accordance to the amount of mashed sweets I wanted to transform), and turned out delightfully well...! Moist and delicious -- this recipe is a Keeper for sure...

    Thanks for posting it...!

    Sincerely,

    Patience

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  53. Thanks for reporting back, Patience. Good to know they double well, and I'm so happy you enjoyed them!

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  54. Thank you for another way to enjoy sweet potatoes!

    makpar@msn.com

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  55. Hi from Sergiyev Posad, a small city in Russia! It's freezing cold here and as I get home from work, all covered in snow, I'm longing for a cup of Russian tea with a cookie... vegan, of course. Thank you for this giveaway and I hope to win a copy!
    Dascha
    dasch.work@gmail.com

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  56. Sweet potatoes are amazing on their own, so they must make an amazing blondie! This is such a great giveaway- who doesn't love cookies?

    email: alakin2@comcast.net

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  57. I love how simple this recipe is! There's not a whole bunch of wonky ingredients (I also am a chef in a professional kitchen where we can't afford to have strange things around, eating up funds).

    c_muller743@hotmail.com

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  58. Wow! This is a great recipe: I made it with tons of nuts, BOTH walnut and pecans, cuz I love nuts (and like a little protein with my sugar). I reduced sugar, and even with all the nuts, still tastes like a dessert ( a hearty one)! Delicious. The chocolate chips add that extra delight. I love how moist they are. Thanks for this, vegan baking rocks!

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  59. Hi Jill! Thanks for the feedback. I'm so glad this recipe worked out well for you and was so flexible :). Honestly Isa deserves the credit though. She's quite the vegan baker.

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  60. I have started following vegan diet and this is a superb recipe..simple and interesting.

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  61. Love vegan cookies and love Isa!

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  62. Excellent! And I really loved your input about the pan and the parchment paper...that was soooo helpful cuz that's what I use. Thanks for doing this, your blog is SUPER!!!
    Sending Aloha, Terri
    neptoon@hawaiilink.net

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  63. Made this recipe with canned pumpkin in place of the sweet potato (not intended) and it turned out great! Followed the recipe exactly (except for the mental lapse in grabbing pumpkin instead of sweet potato) and used parchment. Looking forward to trying the sweet potato version next time!

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu