Vegan beet chocolate muffins
If you've been around my little corner of the internet long enough, you know recipes with chocolate feature pretty heavily. There is something about chocolate that makes it so easy to love, so easy to incorporate into desserts (and many other meals too) and so easy to please everyone. And chocolate, especially dark chocolate, in and of itself is a healthy ingredient: full of antioxidants, minerals and blood pressure lowering goodness. When flipping through the Quick & Easy Vegan Bake Sale by Carla Kelly, I came across this healthy and wonderful sounding recipe combining chocolate and beets, a not so well advertised but health benefit bursting vegetable that is inherently sweet, making it great for baking. Beets are full of vitamin C, potassium, manganese and folate, and their fibres and starches break down easily once they are cooked, giving any baking with them lots of sugary flavour, without having to actually add buckets of sugar.
For this recipe you'll need:
1 medium to large beet, peeled (approximately 8 oz)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Using the fine grating side of a box grater, grate the beet into a small saucepan. Just about cover the beet with water and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until it is soft. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
2. Blend the beet and 1/4 cup cooking liquid into a smooth puree. You need one cup of the puree for the recipe, so if you wind up with less use applesauce to fill the remainder, and if you end up with more than set it aside and save for future use.
3. In a medium bowl, add the milk, oil, vanilla and beet puree and mix well.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour through nutmeg on the list above.
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture to the middle.
6. Stir gently to just combine, it's okay if the batter is a little lumpy.
7. Pour the batter into twelve greased or lined muffin cups. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick in the centre comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the muffin pan for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Despite the density of the muffin, and the rich flavour of the chocolate that is enhanced by the beet, they don't feel heavy. And when I say these are filling, I mean filling. They are a great on-the-go breakfast or snack, and would be something even a picky eater would enjoy. Plus eating vegetables while eating something that tastes like dessert is not a bad deal.
If you're interested in doing some more baking with vegetables, I have a recipe for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake on the blog as well.
What about you, do you have any favourite baked treats that use vegetables? I'd love to hear about them.