Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chocolate HeartBeet Muffins


I made these muffins because I became bored with banana muffins. Before kids, muffins were not something I ate a lot. Now they are a staple in my home simply because they are quick and easy to prepare. They are the working mom's answer to having breakfast on the table in under 2 minutes. The process is simple, measure wet ingredients, then the dry ingredients, dump everything in one bowl. A quick stir just enough to combine and voilà - a quick breakfast or healthy snack. Bonus! They freeze well. A couple seconds in the microwave and you’ve got breakfast in seconds for those rushed mornings. Around here we usually have a healthy banana-oat-bran, or whole wheat muffin, only because bananas are a year round fruit and readily available. Additions to the banana theme might include dates or raisins, or pecans or walnuts and as a treat chocolate chips.

I am always on the look out for great tasting, healthy, recipes. So my interest was piqued by several online recipes for a chocolate beet cake with the cutesy name, Can't be Beet Chocolate Cake. Several sources suggest that beets are an effective defense against heart disease and can lower blood pressure. They are high in antioxidants and may even prevent cancer. Wow! Here's the thing. I do not like beets. My kids do but I don’t. I do however love chocolate and that's being touted these days as being good for your heart, right?

I decided that this would make a great heart-healthy breakfast muffin. The first obvious adjustment was to lessen the amount of oil used. One recipe called for a cup of oil-not very heart healthy. Because it was going to be a muffin and not a cake it didn't need a lot of sugar, besides beets are fairly sweet AND more importantly I needed to leave room for a few chocolate chips. Okay so the addition of chocolate chips may seem over the top but in my experience low-fat, low-sugar baked goods end up being rubbery and dry. The chocolate chips counteract this by providing small bursts of creaminess to the texture of the muffin.

So this recipes makes a strange amount because I wanted to use a full can of beets with no leftovers. I hate when recipes call for part of a can of something which usually ( in spite of intentions to use later ) just ends up growing mold in the fridge.
Makes ?  cupcakes


* 1/2 brown sugar
* 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
* 2 large eggs
* 1 egg white
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup beet purée
* 1 cup non fat plain yogurt
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 cup all-purpose white flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


As I said before muffins are what I call dump cakes. Dump dry ingredients in one bowl and stir. Dump wet ingredients in another and mix. Dump both in one bowl and mix with a fork until just combined. Don't over mix or beat or they will be rubbery. Easy peasy right?

So here is the final verdict - big hit with the family. DS did however think it could be improved upon. "Next time make it like this" he said, pointing to a picture of a mile-high frosted cupcake in one of my recipe books. "Put frosting and sprinkles and it will taste great!"

Others have posted that family and friends were completely astounded to learn that the secret ingredient in their chocolate cake was beets. Sadly my family is not in the habit of eulogizing the food that they eat and were suitably unimpressed by the beet factor or the quirky name. My own thoughts were that the beet flavour was only almost completely covered by the chocolate. Maybe I was aware of it because I knew it was there. The rest of the family did not know until I told them.

Well as much as I originally started off trying to create a healthy breakfast muffin the next day my son prevailed and we did put frosting and sprinkles, transforming the last one into a tasty dessert cupcake? Now that's a two for one recipe that would appeal to any multi-tasking mom!



  1. Muffins are not very common in Germany for breakfast. I have them mostly for a coffee break in the afternoon. But then we have more the type of muffins which is comparable to cake.

  2. The ones I have for breakfast are more bread like. These without the confectioner's sugar aren't overly sweet.

  3. Hi! this blog looks really great! I love cooking...and eating, you know! will read more!
    love, Pinuccia