Our toddler teacher’s request for Valentine’s Day themed snacks seemed like the perfect time to experiment with a chocolate-free version of Simply In Season’s Secret Chocolate Cake, which, by the way, I made for my husband’s birthday (which is conveniently less than a week before Valentine’s Day). For these muffins, I removed the cocoa, added a bit of ground flax and ginger, increased the proportion of whole wheat flour, and skimped a little on both the oil and honey (which replaces sugar in the original cake recipe from Simply in Season). Just as a note, honey can replace sugar in most recipes, though you only need 2/3 the volume when you use honey. It’s potent!
I love beets, and they seem an underexplored ingredient in healthy baked goods. Full of Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese (see full nutritional profile here). Mmmm. Manganese.
Throughout the fall and winter months, I eat steamed beets with yogurt every morning, along with a hard-boiled egg and some homemade granola. A close second to the fresh berries of summer, which I have already raided from the freezer-stash by February.
As with nearly all vegetables, I do not peel my beets. I grow my own or buy organic when possible, and simple soak them in cold water and lightly scrub the surface before chopping and tossing in the steamer.
These muffins are moist, cakey, and even earned an “It’s yummy?” from my son, which is pretty high praise from him. I regret that my final product did not retain that same beautiful magenta of the batter, so I am recommending a little lemon or orange juice in the recipe here, hoping that the acid might help you yield a brighter-colored muffin. I used mini-muffins, but the recipe below would yield at least 18 full-size muffins. More detailed nutritional information is available here, courtesy of Self Nutrition Data.
- 2 cups beets, chopped and steamed
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup raw honey
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup plain whole yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons golden flax meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 cup sunflower or pepita seeds
- Puree beets and applesauce in blender with the 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Set aside. I never keep applesauce handy, so I just steamed a quartered Granny Smith and crammed two or three of the gooey softened quarters into a 1/2 cup measure, carefully adding water to fill in the crevices until it came to the top of the measuring cup.
- Sift flours, baking soda, flax seed meal, salt, ginger, and cinnamon into a medium bowl.
- Combine honey, oil, yogurt and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
- Add vanilla, along with pureed beets blend; beat another minute.
- Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing them in with a spoon, but stirring only until blended.
- Spoon into greased lined mini-muffin tins. Place two sunflower seeds in the shape of a heart on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees (about 16 minutes for mini-muffins and 20-22 minutes for regular sized muffins).
- This will make 57 or so mini-muffins or at least 18 regular sized muffins. Nutritional info assumes that a toddler serving is about 2 mini-muffins.