Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies and Warm Vanilla Sesame Milk

Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies

I learned a few things while baking these brownies. One, you are never too old to lick the bowl and spatula when you’re gluten-free baking. Two, you don’t need refined sugars or flours to make ultra-tasty treats. And three, everyone loves the person who can bake delicious treats like these gluten-free sweet potato brownies.

I’ve been sugar-free for over two years now and I really don’t miss it. Still, I understand that while many of you are eager to learn how to you can reduce your sugar consumption, not all of you are ready to ditch it entirely and drink turmeric lattes straight up. That’s why these sweet potato brownies are here for you.

Why Bake With Sweet Potatoes?

If you haven’t tried baking with sweet potato puree yet, I highly recommend it. From a functional perspective, sweet potatoes:

When we’re talking about nutrition, here’s where it gets even better! Sweet potatoes in baking offer:

White, purple and orange sweet potatoes both work in this recipe. If you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, you can swap in other root vegetable purees in here such as butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, beets or parsnips. Use what you have on hand, and what you love!

Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

The term sweet potatoes and yams are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Sweet potatoes and yams are from different plant families. Most of what we see here in North America are sweet potatoes of different colours (white, orange, purple) and not yams.

Flavour, Fat and Fibre: The Chocolate Trifecta

Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of chocolate (which is why there are many chocolate recipes here). Using both cacao powder and chocolate bars adds a deeper flavour to these sweet potato brownies, plus extra healthy fats and fibre.

This combo helps to build a nutritious dessert or snack that helps to balance blood sugar levels.

To me, carob will never be a good substitute for chocolate (I can’t stand the stuff), but you could swap in carob powder and carob chips if you’d like. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies

Adding a Little Bit of Heat To Sweet Potato Brownies

I added in a generous amount of cayenne pepper here, which supports immune system function and increases circulation throughout the body. Cayenne can be helpful in reducing pain and addressing intestinal inflammation, plus it’s great to have during allergy season.

If you’re not interested in spicy brownies, there are many other things you can try including:

  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Mushroom powder
  • Allspice
  • Orange extract
  • Peppermint extract
  • Vanilla

Pair Those Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Nut or Seed Milk

We’re taking milk and brownies to the next level with homemade sesame milk. I’ve been making my own dairy-free milk for years and you can grab your complimentary nut/seed milk recipe guide here if you want to learn more about it. We make at least a batch of nut/seed milk every week, or if we’re meal prepping for busy weeks we’ll blend a bunch of it in advance.

Sesame milk has a strong flavour and if it’s not your style, try:

  • Coconut
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews

My sweet potato brownies are lunchbox-friendly and freeze well for batch prep. And, along with your nut and seed milk, a generous slather of ghee, coconut oil, coconut butter or nut/seed butter doesn’t hurt either!

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Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies

Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies

  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


A gluten-free sweet potato brownie recipe with a little bit of heat!


  • 3 ounces (or about 1 bar) unsweetened chocolate
    1 Tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water, if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Coat an 8 inch square pan with coconut oil and dust with flour.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil over low heat.
  3. Combine applesauce, sweet potato, coconut sugar, honey, cocoa powder and vanilla. I used my blender, but a food processor would work well too. You can also use a whisk and a bowl.
  4. Add the chocolate/oil mix to the blender and blend/combine until smooth. The mixture should be creamy, not too dry.
  5. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder,  cayenne and sea salt. Add water if needed 1 Tbsp at a time if needed.
  6. Pour batter into the pan, smooth it out with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Insert a tooth pick in to make sure cooked through, they should be firm when you press down. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes

Keywords: brownies, gluten-free, dairy-free, gluten-free brownies, sweet potato brownies, spicy sweet potato brownies, gluten-free baking

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Warm Vanilla Sesame Milk

Warm Vanilla Sesame Milk

  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 1/2 cups 1x


Making your own seed milk is very simple to do!


  • 1 cup sesame seeds, soaked for 4 hours, then drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups water (or tea)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp prepared Irish Moss (optional)
  • Sweetener of choice (I like coconut syrup or raw honey)


  1. Blend the seeds and water together in a blender until smooth.
  2. Run through a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer into a bowl to strain out the pulp.
  3. Return the sesame milk to the blender and add in vanilla, Irish Moss (if using) and sweetener of choice. Blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a pot and heat just until warm. You want to keep it below 75 degrees – no cooking happening here!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes

Keywords: seed milk, dairy-free milk, non-dairy milk, sesame milk, nut milk, sesame seeds

Spicy Sweet Potato Brownies


  1. OK so I couldn’t wait — made these brownies IMMEDIATELY — and had to post about them this week. Ay Caramba they’re amazing.

  2. I made these yesterday! Amazing! They’re super fudgey just how I like my brownies :) I sent the recipe to my best friend who is trying wheat free for 2 weeks. Thanks again for your culinary brilliance Meghan!

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