I'm on a dark chocolate and cherry kick. I can't help it, especially since neither ingredient, when carefully chosen and of high quality, is overly sweet. Unlike my fellow schoolmates back in my elementary school days, milk and white chocolate held no allure, nor did your standard candies and chips. Nope, from day one I was a semisweet-lover at minimum - and if the chocolate was a decent quality, plain 70 or 80% cacao even better.
As I grew older I slowly broadened my experiences with cocoa and chocolate, but always kept it fairly close to the original decadence I fell in love with. These days, I'm also fond of adding the earthy richness of other natural ingredients like beets and whole grains to a smooth cocoa base, which is probably why I love chocolate beet cake (with spelt or barley flour these days) and oatmeal with cocoa and brown sugar so much!
When I was paging through Home Grown Harvest a few weeks back, I spotted this creation and knew I had to put it on my baking shortlist. For a little bit less guilt-inducement, not to mention a ton more flavour and lasting moisture, I used whole wheat pastry flour, some beet infused cocoa (made with the same idea as the raspberry cocoa), home-dried cherries that I soaked in orange juice, homegrown beets and ground flax. I even used the old-school (but effective) trick of swapping pureed local apples for half the oil too. In the end, I had some indulgent, yet somewhat healthy vegan treats to take to the girls at my hair salon - and since I made a double batch I froze half of them for Christmas gifties!
I haven't forgotten about this week's roundup for 12 weeks of Christmas Treats (#12WksXmasTreats)! I'm sending in these luscious chocolate muffins, perfect for any "midnight snack" or "lunch" buffet table. Be sure to check out the other offerings and say hi to the others planning ahead for the holidays!
Dark Chocolate, Beet and Cherry Muffins
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup hot coffee
5 oz cooked, peeled beets
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup Demerara sugar
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used beet infused cocoa)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in orange juice (or water) overnight and drained well
- Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
- In a small bowl combine the flaxseed and coffee. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a food processor, puree the beets, oil, applesauce and sugar until smooth.
- Melt the chocolate and add with the flaxseed mixture to the processor. Puree in thoroughly.
- Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and pulse in until mostly smooth.
- Pulse in the cherries.
- Spoon into the muffin cups and bake for 22-25 minutes.
- Cool 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
Total Fat: 16.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 48.4 mg
Total Carbs: 46.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
Protein: 3.9 g