What Makes These Dark Chocolate Muffins Special? Beets Me.

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Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins. Yes, you read that right. Beet. Sound good? Probably not. But you can’t say they don’t look good! And so far, nobody has been disappointed with the taste either. What prompted me to create such a bizarre flavor combination in this muffin? Well it’s kind of a long story…

To tell you the truth, I’ve never liked beets. I was forced to eat them as a kid, I thought they tasted like dirt, end of story. Fast forward 25 years and I decided it was time to give the strange-looking red root another chance. My aunt and uncle recently took me to the local farmer’s market and one of the many things we bought were beets.

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My aunt boiled the beets, cut them in chunks, doused them with a healthy amount of vinegar, salt, and pepper and one of my least favorite vegetables was transformed into my favorite new side dish. I loved them!

Besides being tasty, preparing and eating them is fun! I love the way they bleed (I think they might be the perfect vegetable for halloween), and how everything they touch turns crimson (including your fingers and tongue). For some, this is a deterrent but the stains are temporary so why bother with the gloves! Get your fingers dirty, stick your tongues out at the table to compare colors, remember what it’s like to be a kid!

But perhaps the best reason to eat beets is that they are very good for you. According to WHFoods.com, beets contain compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and colon cancer. They are high in fiber and despite their high sugar content, surprisingly low in calories.

Ok, now you know why I like beets but you’re probably still wondering why I would decided to combine them with chocolate and turn them into a muffin. Well I can’t exactly take all the credit for the idea. Once I realized that I no longer hate beets, I couldn’t wait to find some new recipes to try out. I started scouring the internet and was surprised to find numerous recipes for Chocolate Beet Cake. WHAT??? I certainly wasn’t expecting that. But the recipes are everywhere. Then I made another discovery. One of my favorite food blogs, La Tartine Gourmande, also featured a Chocolate and Beet recipe. I decided that if Bea thinks it’s a good combination, then it probably is!

Instead of trying one of the cake or brownie recipes, I decided to modify one of my muffin recipes to create something sweet and chocolately that can be eaten with a little less guilt. I was hoping that the addition of beet puree would act much like the applesauce or banana that I like to use in my muffin recipes, replacing some of the fat and keeping the muffins moist. It worked!

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I used a bittersweet chocolate in these muffins both for the health benefits and because I thought the dark earthy-tasting chocolate would be the best compliment for the beets. I think it worked really well because these muffins don’t really taste like beets at all and unless you tell, no one would guess it!

Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call these muffins “healthy.” But they taste great and are considerably better for you than a standard chocolate chip muffin and much, much better for you than a big slice of dark chocolate cake! But I’m including the nutrition data this time so you can decide for yourself.

Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins

1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped pecans or walnuts

1/4 C. butter
2/3 C. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C. beet puree*
2/3 C. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper cups; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together first 5 ingredients until well combined.  Stir in the half cup chocolate chips and nuts; set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the other 2/3 cup chocolate chips and butter over very low heat.  Stir to combine and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, beet puree, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate.
6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overmix.
7. Immediately spoon batter into 12 well-greased or paper-lined muffin cups.  Batter should completely fill the cups.
8. Place muffin pan in a preheated 375 oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Muffins are done when they spring back when touched lightly in the center (or when a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean). Don’t overbake!
9. Cool muffins for 10 minutes in pan then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. Enjoy!

*Canned beets may be used in this recipe but I strongly suggest using fresh ones if possible. To prepare beets: Cut off the greens leaving about one inch attached. Don’t cut anything off the root end. Gently scrub the beets being careful not to cut the skin. In a medium saucepan, cover beets with water, bring to a gentle boil and cook, covered, 30-45 minutes until tender. Drain and let sit until cool enough to handle. The tops should pull off easily or they can be cut off. The skins will slip right off. Puree beets with a little bit of the cooking liquid in a food processor until they are the consistency of applesauce.

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50 Comments
  1. Ivonne

    I love it!!! I would imagine that beets and chocolate would go so well together … well done!

    7:55 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  2. Helene

    Since B. hates beets and I love them, I wonder if this would work into getting him to eat some.
    I am happy to see you back!

    8:02 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  3. Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    These photos are just gorgeous Nicole! I love love the first one. The contrast of the table (?)..I want the same one! And glad to hear you are now adopting this association. Beets are fun, aren’t they?

    8:22 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  4. bloglily

    I’m so glad you’ve returned Nicole! I hope you’re doing well.

    This is just lovely — I’m a late-comer to the beet revolution, like you. I like them roasted and then tossed with vinegar and a little olive oil. And the orange ones are surprisingly wonderful, and such a terrific color.

    But it’s these muffins that are the real revolution. They’re brilliantly photographed, described and put together. And I can’t wait to try them.

    xo, BL

    9:04 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  5. rachel

    ooh, i was just thinking about chocolate and beets!

    9:12 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  6. Ninnie

    Very nice! I recently made beet and rasberry muffins, yours are my next ones to try! Thanks!

    9:21 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  7. peabody

    My aunt used to make a beet and chocolate cake. I’m sure these are similar….they taste really good.

    11:23 pm  Oct 28th, 2006
  8. Abby

    So glad you’re back!

    My grandmother always canned beets, and we had beets and pickles with every meal all year. That’s the only way I’ve ever had them, however.

    You gave me a new twist to try!

    12:47 am  Oct 29th, 2006
  9. Brilynn

    Wonderful, you’re back!!!
    I could definitely see this combination working, if carrot cake, zucchini bread, pumpkin muffins, etc are good, why not beets? I like beets, I like chocolate, you’ve sold me.

    2:28 am  Oct 29th, 2006
  10. Bron

    Neat idea, I love beetroot! and I also love the idea of using vegetables in more dessert like foods and baking. Yum!

    5:58 am  Oct 30th, 2006
  11. amanda

    nicole, again with the muffins! hurry up and make a new dish so i won’t be forced into making some chocolate beet muffins! i actually grew up loving beets, particularly homemade pickled beets, but tyler can’t stand them. thus i never get to cook them. BUT he is a chocoholic so maybe if i hide them in a chocolate cake…:-)

    12:59 pm  Oct 30th, 2006
  12. Orchidea

    Very interesting recipe… I want to try it soon, here in Sweden beet are very common and often eaten but I am not a big fan of them.
    Ciao.

    3:21 pm  Oct 30th, 2006
  13. Connie

    wow. i love recipes that are have unexpected additions to make the overall presentation yummy and new.

    and the title… waaayyy too pun-y ;)

    3:47 pm  Oct 30th, 2006
  14. Jessica

    You mean besides the chocolate? That’s enough to make them special for me. And I had the same exact thought as the above commenter- carrot cake, zucchini bread, sweet potatos- etc! So why not beets? And yes, your food photography is really great! Especially love the first muffin photo. :)

    5:43 pm  Oct 30th, 2006
  15. Nicole

    Thanks everyone! I’m pleasantly surprised at all the positive response to this recipe…I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t be well received! I hope some of you try it!

    5:58 am  Oct 31st, 2006
  16. Mae

    Wow! I love love love the photos! Mmmmmm you might have just converted me…

    What an interesting combo.

    Glad you’re back :)

    9:46 pm  Oct 30th, 2006
  17. Julia

    hi Nicole,
    what a great comb of flavours – I would have never thought of that(!)
    very original and I think it works very well!
    stunning pictures – *drool, drool*
    I would do anything to have one of these delicious muffins right now!

    9:10 pm  Oct 31st, 2006
  18. Nicole

    Thanks Julia!

    9:38 pm  Oct 31st, 2006
  19. Curt

    I may have to actually try those… My wife does the muffin baking, though, so I’ll show her the recipe.

    it’s good to see you back. :)

    9:39 pm  Oct 31st, 2006
  20. Pearl

    Glad to see you back. I’ve seen those recipes around but so far haven’t bit the bullet, or should I say, beet.

    1:16 am  Nov 1st, 2006
  21. Mary

    I’m a beet lover so no need to convince me that they are yummy. You definitely kicked it up a notch with chocolate!

    Welcome back. :)

    4:22 am  Nov 1st, 2006
  22. amanda

    hey nicole, i love the new layout! we’ve been on the verge of putting our categories at the top of the page for the last… oh, 3 months! oops. but it definately looks great here :-)

    10:20 am  Nov 1st, 2006
  23. Lisa (Homesick Texan)

    I detest beets–I think they taste like metal. But…I’m always willing to try new things and your conversion is pretty convincing. And everything tastes better with chocolate, right?

    Also, it’s already been said but…gorgeous photos!

    5:45 am  Nov 2nd, 2006
  24. Almi

    Oh…those chocolate muffins… mmmmm… anything chocolate… :) I’m making chocolate muffins tomorrow :)

    4:46 am  Nov 5th, 2006
  25. Almi

    …ah..forgot that I’m trying to be a more healthy…. (hate when that happens) maybe I’ll go for the Cilantro Caesar Salad with Carne Asada instead ;)

    4:48 am  Nov 5th, 2006
  26. Julie

    Hi,
    I just found your blog through Ivonne’s site. It’s great! I love hidden ingredients in food like that. The beets are a great alternate to bananas which obviously have a more distinct flavor. My mom used to use mayonnaise to make her chocolate cake moist, and I didn’t know about it for years. Beets are a considerably healthier choice!

    10:00 pm  Nov 9th, 2006
  27. Adina

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve tried beet chocolate cake before, and I was wondering if anyone had a muffin recipe. They were great! I was too lazy to puree the beets, but around twice the volume of grated beets worked just fine. Thanks again!

    4:15 am  Nov 12th, 2006
  28. Point of Discontinuity » Blog Archive » Double Chocolate Beet Muffins

    […] While beets have been in season for a while now, but we’re getting into the late fall season in which hardy root vegetables and winter squash make up the bulk of the food available at the farmer’s market. It’s cold and wet outside, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by school, what with a thesis presentation and two large projects due in the next couple weeks. Sounds like some chocolate is in order. I found a great recipe for chocolate beet muffins, but of course, I modified it. Here’s my recipe: 2c whole wheat flour 2 t. baking powder 1 t. baking soda 1/2 C. Cocoa Camino Chocolate chips* 2 C. grated beets (around 2 medium beets) 1/4 C. butter 2/3 C. Cocoa Camino Chocolate chips* 1/3 C. Honey 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2/3 C. plain yogurt 1 t. vanilla extract […]

    9:53 pm  Nov 12th, 2006
  29. Christa

    These look wonderful! I love chocolate and beets and I’ve been intrigued by the chocolate/beet cake recipes that I’ve seen around on other blogs. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Your photos are gorgeous!

    3:27 pm  Nov 18th, 2006
  30. Robin Marie

    Beets are one of my favorite foods EVER. And chocolate comes in shortly after. I’m going to have to try this some time.

    7:40 pm  Dec 6th, 2006
  31. Danielle

    This is great! I’ve been wanting to put beets into desserts for a while now, but you beat me to it (no pun intended), and I’m so glad you did!

    6:57 pm  Dec 7th, 2006
  32. Amanda P

    I just tried your beat muffins and boy was I surprised! everyone enjoyed them and people didnt even taste the beats! I have always thought that Beats tasted like dirt so i was wondering how this would tast but i will be making them alot more Thank you!!!!

    5:23 pm  Jan 12th, 2007
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  36. Amber

    Both myself and my boyfriend looooove these! :) Didn’t think it’d work out so well.

    Thanks for posting such wonderful recipes, will be making these again

    6:45 pm  Sep 30th, 2008
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  38. mytastytravels

    that looks great! I am going to try to make a little beet cakes from tyler florence for valentine’s day. I also wanted to ask you how you put the nutrition data nutrition facts on your blog? Do you pay them for the rights? Or can you simply copy and paste? thanks so much! I started a food blog and would like to post nutrition info with my recipes, but didn’t know if I could?

    Kristen

    1:07 pm  Feb 4th, 2009
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  40. Heidi

    I have had this recipe printed out forever to make and finally made it last night. It was very good my 5 year old loved it and had no idea he was eating his vegetables. Thank you for posting it. I had never heard of sweet recipes for beets before and have garden excess to use up this was great.

    9:50 am  Jul 31st, 2009
  41. Jennifer

    I baked these and topped them with cream cheese icing. Delicious! I left a few iced ones out and froze the rest (without icing). When I thaw a couple out I think I’ll try to lighten up the topping by using whipped cream cheese instead of icing. Great recipe!

    5:10 pm  Aug 16th, 2009
  42. Heather

    I’ve got a batch of these in the oven right now. Was a little nervous because I’ve never cooked beets before, but the batter is a beautiful vibrant reddish looking color. Can’t wait till there done.

    2:09 pm  Dec 4th, 2009
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