My entry, Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars, earned me fifth place in the dessert category, but it could have easily categorized as a healthy food alternative because of it's wholesome ingredients.
To be honest, I was totally shocked when I received notice that I was a finalist with this particular chosen recipe. I had also entered a recipe for German Chocolate Cheesecake Bars - a far superior and decadent recipe, in my opinion - but the judges thought otherwise, and that was fine with me.
|Me sulking after the contest because I had to buy a new oven|
I did several dry runs of the recipe, mainly because I like it, and my friends enjoyed being guinea pigs for a while. But then, horrors of horrors! The night before the contents when I was about to pour my batter into the pans, I discovered that my pre-heated oven wasn't heating -- at all! It had given up the ghost on that night -- of all nights. So, at midnight on the eve of the recipe contest, I was at a friend's house baking in an unfamiliar oven (I should have taken heed to the omens when I got a flat tire on a country road earlier that day on the way to buy ingredients ...)
There are many variations of Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars on the Internet, in cookbooks and countless southern homes. I am not sure where mine came from, but I have a few variations that I try from time to time. One of which I will share at the end of this post ... probably would have won if I used it (wink!)
I have been asked over and over again for the recipe, and I was not going to share it until the end of April when the newspaper's supplemental cookbook comes out, but I've decided to follow my "oh-what-the-heck" instinct and share it with you here.
Louisiana Sweet Potato Bars1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound sweet potatoes, pared and shredded (about 2 cups)
2 cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice.
With a wooden spoon, stir in dry ingredients, sweet potatoes, oats and nuts.
Spread dough in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch greased baking pan.
Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into l l/2-inch bars.
Makes about 36 bar cookies.
For Drop Cookies: Drop dough by heaping tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheets, and flatten to l/2-inch thickness. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 36 3-inch cookies.
VARIATION: Soak the shredded sweet potatoes in 1/2 cup of good bourbon for one hour prior to mixing ... This may take a bit of experimentation and tweaking. I suggest practicing this step repeatedly until you get the right flavor ... Oh, come on! Live a Little!