It seems counterintuitive, but recently I’ve realized that my favorite gifts to give and receive are edible. Why would someone who lost 120 pounds want to receive a box of cookies? Well, because now that I think about my food and my choices every day, I appreciate cookies. I also appreciate real food with real ingredients and love to savor homemade desserts. A homemade, from-scratch treat is also one that had a lot of thought put into it, and besides, most people have enough stuff. But everyone needs dessert!

 That’s why I baked a batch of crushed Oreo cookies from Pretty By the Bay, boxed ’em up and shipped ’em all the way to Pennsylvania, to my friend Wendy and her husband, who recently welcomed their first child. If you missed it, Wendy wrote a beautiful guest post about her struggles with anorexia and reclaiming her fertility.

Mmmm, cookies.

So both fiance and I were thrilled when our friends Kassia and Scott came bearing a loaf of sweet potato bread. Neither of us had ever had it or even heard of it, but we are big fans of both sweet potatoes and bread, and we loved it.

I begged Kassia to e-mail me the recipe so I could share it on the blog. Seems easy — and healthy! — enough to me. I know that I will be making it soon for us, but it also makes a perfect gift.

Sweet potato bread with flax seed and honey 

Yield: 16 slices
1/3 cup flaxseed (ground)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened … (Kassia note: I substituted 1/4 cup of fat free French Vanilla Stonyfield yogurt in my one loaf, and I actually liked the yogurt better, plus you don’t have to worry about softening it!)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
Cooking spray
1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.)  Place flaxseed in a clean coffee grinder or blender; process until coarsely ground
3.)  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife
4.)  Combine flaxseed, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl
5.)  Make a well in the center of the mixture
6.)  Beat cream cheese and the next 5 ingredients (cream cheese through egg white); stir in sweet potato
7.)  Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist
8.)  Spoon batter into an 8×4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray
9.)  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Note: To freeze bread for up to 1 month, place in an airtight container, or wrap in heavy-duty plastic wrap or foil. Thaw at room temperature.

What’s your favorite treat to make for others?