Saturday, November 9, 2013

Purple (Sweet) Potato Coconut Pops

Even though I heard of it years ago, I've never had Potato Candy. It's not an overly popular confection around here (and in fact when I mention it I'm offered more quizzical eyebrow-raises than knowing nods), and when you think about it, the combination of peanut butter, cocoa and actual potatoes just doesn't seem overly palatable. However, something about the bland starchiness just works in both savoury and sweet applications. Sweet potatoes are even more of a blank canvas for creating, in my opinion, since they are starchy enough to hold up to savoury dishes but have a sugary enough edge to fit right in on the dessert table.

Sweet potato pie and bread are huge this time of year, often packed with eggs, oil and sugar for a triple whammy of decadence at the holiday dessert table, but what about between the feast days? Personally, my day just isn't complete without a sweet treat - I'm not saying I need a slab of cake or a wedge of pie a la mode every evening, but a square or two of dark chocolate, a cookie or even a bowl of cocoa-laced oatmeal somehow caps the night off right. My mom is with me on the daily sweet bandwagon, although she prefers spreading her treats throughout the day (mostly to combat boredom and/or exhaustion at work). Since she needs to be able to take her snacks on the go, homemade trail mixes and all-in-one bites like these have become the rule more than the exception.

When I found the violet tubers, I happened to be shopping in an Asian grocery store where they were calling them "Thai / Japanese Sweet Potatoes", and whether or not they actually were from either of those countries I was inspired enough to take a few home - both to taste test for dinner and to play with in the sweet kitchen! I already knew the avenue I was headed down when it came to dessert, thanks to my shopping trip and previous food blog stalking that led me to Sweet Potato Protein Bars on Protein Pow (the link to the recipe has since gone dead and I can't find the original on the site, sorry!).

DSCN8771I didn't really want to go the "protein puck" route, so picked a variety of flavourful coconut products instead to add flavour and body. Unlike standard recipes for spud-based confectionery (which need pounds of icing sugar), these balls are based on the subtle flavour and vibrant hue of the purple sweet potato, relying on only the merest hint of agave and stevia for their definitive dessert-sweet status. The coating, while chocolate, was also sugar free and vegan - I used one of my new favourites in that respect (CocoPolo) with a dab of virgin coconut oil to make it harden into a perfectly thick shell. Once coated, they look like any other chocolate in the holiday gift box, but one bite reveals the secret, and even kids will love getting in on the discovery! You don't even have to let on that they're "good for you" - just good!

Purple (Sweet) Potato Coconut Pops!

Shared with Wellness Weekend and Gluten Free Fridays

Purple (Sweet) Potato Coconut Pops 
Makes 18
1 large purple-flesh sweet potato (about 6 oz), baked until very soft, peeled and mashed
⅓ cup coconut flour
3 tbsp chickpea flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
3 packets Pure Via Turbinado and Stevia Blend
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk alternative (i.e. Coconut Dream)
1 cup chopped stevia-sweetened dark chocolate such as CocoPolo (or dark chocolate chips) (for coating)
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil (for coating)
  1. Whip sweet potato flesh, flours, flaxseed, agave, Pure Via and coconut oil with electric beaters until completely smooth and creamy, adding coconut milk as needed to maintain an almost frosting-like paste. 
  2. Scoop rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze 1 hour.
  3. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or in a double boiler. Dip chilled balls and allow to set on the baking sheet.
  4. Store in the fridge up to 2 weeks in a covered container.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 94.5
Total Fat: 7.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.1 mg
Total Carbs: 8.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 1.4 g