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What Makes These Dark Chocolate Muffins Special? Beets Me.

Posted By Nicole On October 28, 2006 @ 6:12 pm In Adventures in Baking,Breads,Desserts,Vegetarian,Whole Grains | 49 Comments

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.

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!

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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