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These double chocolate brownies use canned sweet potato purée to cut down on the sugar content.Erin Scott/Courtesy of manufacturer

“It’s really hard to cut the sugar out of a recipe and retain the deliciousness and texture that people expect,” says Toronto-born nutrition expert Jennifer Tyler Lee. She explains it took more than a year and a half – and many failures – to perfect the recipes in her new cookbook so that they could fool the savviest sweet tooth.

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Courtesy of manufacturer

“I don’t want kids to eat quinoa cookies. I want them to be able to have good, old-fashioned chocolate chip,” says the author of Half The Sugar All The Love: A Family Cookbook, a collaboration with physician Anisha Patel.

“However, it’s not easy replicating the classic rich, buttery taste using a fraction of the sugar. It took three professional chefs, 25 tries, to get it right. I discovered you have to build it from the ground up.”

Lee, a married mom of two who lives in San Francisco, says the magic ingredient of the slimmed-down chocolate chip cookies is Medjool dates. And for her Double Chocolate Brownies that boast half the sugar of a boxed brownie mix? Canned sweet potato purée substitutes for the white stuff.

“The whole point of our book is to give people recipes so they will be able to enjoy the foods they love in a healthier way."

Double Chocolate Brownies

Makes 24 brownies

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup canned sweet potato purée or 1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled until fork-tender
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips (6 3/4 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of overhang on each side, and coat with cooking spray.

Combine the sweet potatoes, almond butter, coconut oil, egg and egg yolk in a food processor. Process until very smooth, making sure no chunks of sweet potato remain, about 1 minute.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Process until combined, about 30 seconds.

Add the cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda and process until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute more. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it into an even layer, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Bake until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs, 27 to 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool slightly. Cut into 24 bars.

Make Ahead: The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Half the Sugar, All the Love by Jennifer Tylee Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH (Workman). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Erin Scott. Used with permission by the publisher.

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