One day, I’m going to get more creative on my baking. For now, I’m putting up yet another muffin recipe. This time, the recipe’s on how to make beet muffins along with some quick alteration tips for chocolate beet and vegan beet muffins.
I first learned this recipe when my boyfriend received a bunch of beets from his CSA. While he was excited, I cringed. Beets are those weird, imbetween plants that are too sweet to be what I conceive as a veggie, too squishy in texture to be a veggie, but not sweet enough to be a fruit. Basically, I don’t like them. That didn’t stop us from having a lot of them, so I had to figure out a plan. I set to my rule of thumb for produce–if you don’t like it in its own form, turn it into a baked good. For me, that’s muffins.
Now, this trick does not work with every vegetable; however, if you can puree, mash, grate, chop into tiny pieces, etc. you can fold it into muffin dough and be all right. Simply look at your vegetable then figure out what kind of muffin you want to make. You’ve got two options:
Grated Carrot Cake Route
This style works pretty well with, obviously, carrots, but also zucchini, and I’ve done beet this way like for making zucchini bread. You can also make your pumpkin bread or muffins this way, but the one time I tried this method for sweet potato, I somehow ended up with a less-than-sweet muffin that actually better resembled a scone (my roommate referred to the results of that experiment as my mones, all the while moaning as she ate one).
I almost always refer to this method when baking my muffins. I do squash, pumpkin, and beet muffin/bread this way. I adapted my recipe from a carrot cake recipe (don’t ask why that worked in my head) from the amazing cookbook “When it all Vegan”. The recipe is below:
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (can go down to 1/2 for a more dinner-type muffin)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup beet, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (1/4 tsp ginger powder also works)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, stir the rest. Then slowly pour the wets in with the dries until “just mixed.” Over mixing will cause your muffins to become fairly brick-like, which only works for fruitcake. Pour the batter into lightly oiled muffin tings, pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes, and use knife to see if they’re done. Once fully cooked and cooled, put one on a plate and enjoy!
Now, I would be doing a total disservice if I did not at least veganize a recipe I ripped from a vegan book. To make vegan, simply switch the milk for soy or almond milk and use a flaxseed/water mixture to replace the egg.
Quick info about the egg replacement. When veganizing (yes, noun is now a verb) baked goods, first figure out what the egg is doing in that recipe. For the muffins, it is acting as a binding agent. If it were for moisture, I’d replace the egg with applesauce or a banana, and if it were used for leavening, I’d simply add a little more baking soda. Vigorously whisking 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 Tbsp very hot water (not quite boiling, but almost) makes the mixture very viscous, which is what you need for the beet recipe.
These two changes are not big, and they add a slightly nutty flavor to the muffin, making it resemble the light taste of the banana muffin. You can even add walnuts to play up the nutty character.
As for adding chocolate, follow the recipe except add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and increase oil just a little bit (no more than an 1/8, but really I just eye-ball it). Adding cocoa complements the beet flavor quite nicely, making this recipe one of my favorites. You can even really go crazy and add chocolate chips.
Well, there you have it, a beet muffin recipe and some potential alterations. This muffin has won me over to beets and, more importantly is a great way to sneak in even just a little bit more vegetable, especially in the desert stage of the meal. The beet muffin is wonderful for kids because 1) it’s as tasty as any banana nut or regular chocolate muffin 2) it’s just as simple to make so kids can join in on the baking fun and 3) the beet muffin’s surprisingly pink color will be a hit for any daughter/niece/granddaughter/etc as it has been with my friend’s granddaughter.
Doug would be proud.