Did you guys know October is Fair Trade month? Also, HAPPY OCTOBER! I know it’s halfway through already but here in DC the weather is still making me feel like it’s the end of August.
This month I’m teaming up with a bunch of other amazing bloggers to spread fair trade awareness with Fair Trade USA! Each of us is paired up with a fair trade farmer around the world, and are sharing their story, PLUS a delicious recipe featuring Fair Trade ingredients! Now how COOL is that. Or, grool. I tried to say great and cool, and it came out grool.
My contribution to the Fair Trade Recipe Rally: Double Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies. Did I mention there’s sea salt on top of them? Because sea salt and chocolate is the absolute BEST. These brownies are the real deal, friends.
So WHY is Fair Trade so important, you ask? Fair Trade is a simple way to make every purchase matter. When you buy a product with the Fair Trade CertifiedTM label, you know that the farmers and workers who produced it got a fair deal for their hard work. This means better prices and wages, safe working conditions, environmental protection, and the ability to build sustainable livelihoods and thriving communities. (from FairTradeUSA) And the simple choice of choosing a fair trade over a “regular” product may seem simple to us, but it can mean the difference between a farmer getting food on the table or sending their child to school, or not.
And the amazing ingredients I received in my Fair Trade goodie box? Drooling. Because: chocolate.
Check these babies out: Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Runa Clean Energy Guayusa Tea, Lake Champlain Organic Unsweetened Cocoa (I was super excited about this one, because I went to undergrad in Vermont where these are made!), dark chocolate coconut butter cups from Eating Evolved, Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour, SunSpire Organic Unsweetened Baking Bar, and black peppercorns from Frontier Natural Products Co-Op.
So naturally, I’m thinking dessert. Ain’t nobody don’t like no
parfaits dessert. (Thanks, Donkey)
The farmer I’m paired with this month is named Carmen Pucuji. She’s an “inspirational flower worker” and member of Agrogana cooperative in Ecuador. Located in the Andean region of Ecuador, the farm sits at 10,000 feet in the Cotopaxi province, which is known as the home of one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes. The region has a very high unemployment and illiteracy rate, and many families don’t have the resources to send their children to school. Agrogana employs over 170 workers to provide them with community programs like health clinics, english courses for kids, and a children’s reading program to support future generations and opportunities for these families. Carmen has worked at the Agrogana Flower Farm for the past 12 years, and every day of work has been for her 15-year-old son Kevin, a very talented student with big dreams who excels in computer science and English. Because of his achievements, Kevin was awarded a Fair Trade scholarship from Agrogana’s Fair Trade Committee to study at a top school in the region. His transportation, supplies and tuition will all be covered, allowing him and his mom to focus on making the most of this exciting opportunity.
But let’s get this straight real quick: I’m not a very good gluten/grain-free baker. That sh*t is HARD. Many a time I’ve tried a paleo baking recipe that did not turn out in my favor, even when I follow other people’s recipes to the T. The struggle is real, you guys. So I wanted to make something that wasn’t too complicated ingredient-wise (read: lots of different flours that require you to search every whole foods and MOMs organic market in your area to find) or difficulty-wise. So basically, something that you mix together, throw in the oven, and boom. Done and delicious.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Juli of PaleOMG in her first cookbook: OMG, that’s Paleo? I’d made her sweet potato brownies for some holiday a few years back and everyone LOVED them. So I took the ingredients I received in my Fair Trade box, put on my recipes hat (which, let’s be honest, is ALWAYS on. I can never turn that thing off!), and got to work.
What I learned from making this recipe: I DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. how you paleo baking people do it. I could not test a baking recipe multiple times over and again only to have it fail, then try, try again. The good news here is I’ve already done that for you, so you don’t have to try out three or four batches of the same brownie recipe before you’re totally satisfied that they are utterly and irresistibly delicious. But what of those other batches, you ask? Don’t worry. We still ate them. That being the reason for my slight sugar coma over the past two weeks. But it’s all okay because now I have PERFECT double Dark Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies with sea salt for you!
- 1 medium sweet potato (about 400 grams)*
- 3 eggs, whisked
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard or Enjoy Life brands)**
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips (enjoy life) or about 2 oz 100% dark chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp coconut flour
- 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- coarse sea salt, for topping
- optional toppings: toasted coconut chips, a drizzle of nut butter (sunflower, almond, etc) if you want to make these super rich!
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by greasing it with a little coconut oil or lining it with parchment paper.
- Rinse the sweet potato, pat it dry with paper towels, then use a fork to poke a few holes in it.
- Bake the sweet potato for 30-35 minutes, until it is squishy and cooked through. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- Change the oven temperature to 350 F.
- While the sweet potato is cooling, melt the coconut oil in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Once it’s completely melted, stir in the ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until they’re almost completely dissolved in the oil. If the oil is very hot, set it aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Once the sweet potato is cooled, peel it, discard the skin (or eat it!), and mix it in a medium sized mixing bowl with the maple syrup, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in the slightly cooled coconut oil/chocolate mixture.
- Sift together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add these to the wet mixture along with the dark chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the brownies to cool for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into them, so they don’t turn into an ooey gooey mess when you try to take them out. They’re still delicious this way though!
- Garnish to serve with a pinch of coarse sea salt. They’re also delicious with some roasted coconut shavings and/or a drizzle of sunbutter. Talk about decadence!
**My taste testers said substituting milk chocolate for the semi-sweet chocolate chips would be amazing! I like semi-sweet + dark chocolate better, but hey. If milk chocolate is your favorite, go for it. The recipe will still turn out just as well!
Note: storing the brownies in the freezer allows them to keep for longer. And according to Juli (from PaleOMG), from whose recipe inspired this one, the brownies become extra chewy too!
And check out that drizzle of sunbutter. Oh, yeah. Fudgy brownie decadence, right there.
Check out http://befair.org/ for more info on this amazing movement and to find out how you can get involved in supporting Fair Trade and more farmers like Carmen! And don’t forget to check out other recipes on the Fair Trade Recipe Rally…because there’s bound to be more fair trade (read: delicious) chocolate.