“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” (Love Actually, 2003).
To me, this quote from the film Love Actually is a perfect description of what Valentine’s Day is all about. In an age overwhelmed by tragedy and violence, February 14th exists as a reminder that there is positive in the world. It reminds us that every individual has someone to love, and that every individual is loved by someone. Too often such love is taken for granted. It is never featured on the news or written about in the papers. But it always exists for every one of us. Because whether parents, children, brothers, sisters, or friends—we all love.
And that is what makes Valentine’s Day so special. For one day, love is made a priority; for one day, love is able to occupy that ultimate position that it should occupy each and every day of our lives. Because we can live without the latest iPhone, the newest television episode, and the most recent fashion item. But one thing we can’t live without is love.
And because Valentine’s Day is a holiday not just for sweeties, but for sweets as well, here’s a brownie recipe for you to love!
Why is this dessert so lovable? It is deliciously healthy! These are Paleo Brownies, which means they contain no flour, dairy, or refined sugar, but are made from all natural, unprocessed ingredients. With a base of sweet potato instead of butter, these treats are a great source of vitamin A with far less saturated fat than normal brownies. And even with all this healthiness, they lack nothing in flavor. Moist, chocolate-y, and nutritious, these are the perfect treats for your sweetie, and the perfect sweet for your body!
So sweets to the sweet and a very happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
Yield: 15 servings
1 ½ lb. (2 medium) purple-skinned sweet potatoes
⅔ cup chopped dark chocolate
1 Tablespoon coconut oil*
¼ cup honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch**
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 325°F and grease an 8×8” square pan.
Bring a medium-sized pot, half-filled with water, to a boil.
Peel and chop sweet potatoes into ½-inch-thick chunks. Place sweet potato in boiling water and cook until very tender (pieces should easily break apart when pierced with a fork).
Puree cooked sweet potato in a food processor until completely smooth. Set aside.
Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until mixture is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add egg-mixture to pureed sweet potato, whisking until fully incorporated. Add in cocoa powder, arrowroot starch, baking soda, and salt, whisking until combined. Stir in pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pan (there may be extra batter, which you can distribute among muffin tins for individual-sized brownies, if desired). Bake 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of brownies comes out clean.
*Butter can be substituted for coconut oil
**Cornstarch/gluten-free flour can be substituted for arrowroot starch