Living in a country that is not my own opens my eyes to a million new things everyday. For example, stuffing 7 people in a tiny beat-up car is the D.R.'s version of public transportation. And women look like they are going to a club to go dancing at all hours of the day - especially at the supermarket.
The cultural surprises of living abroad are no exception in the kitchen. Growing up, I would have never thought of sweet potatoes as an after-meal treat, but here in the Dominican Republic, they are two peas in a pod.
The direct translation of the dish Pan de Batata is Sweet Potato Bread, but my spin on them makes them more similar luscious Sweet Potato Brownies. Here in the D.R., there is also Jalea de Batata, and that is like a Sweet Potato Pudding. The Dominican mixture of sweet potatoes with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sugar, sweet milk, and cloves, which can result in two different kinds of mouth-watering desserts, surprised me so much that I had to give away as many of these brownies as I could to prevent myself from eating them.
Thanks to Aunt Clara for this recipe, which I only slightly tweaked.
Sweet Potato Brownies
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon clove powder
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of coconut flesh, finely grated (Look for canned coconut flesh mixed with sugar in the grocery store - it's much easier and much tastier)
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the grated coconut. Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan and place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven when it is almost done, add the grated coconut, and place in the oven again for 3-5 minutes. Pinch with a clean knife, and if it does not stick to the knife, remove it from the oven. Let it cool before taking it out of the pan. Makes 12-15 medium sized brownies.
As Aunt Clara says, "Serve as dessert or as accompanying hot cocoa or coffee."
a buen tiempo!