Introduce your child to this super-nutritious veggie with these chocolate beet cupcakes, from the new book Adventures in Veggieland.
My boys are not on board with straight-up beets. Yet. But they’ll drink them whirled into smoothies and juices. And thanks to this recipe, now they like them in cupcakes.
I call that progress. Because part of helping your child explore (and even like!) new foods is familiarizing them with that food–in lots of different forms. Now that my kids know beets are yummy baked into cupcakes or juiced with other fruits, they may be more likely to try a roasted beet on a salad or baked into a veggie burger.
This recipe comes from a great new book called Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes written by feeding therapist Melanie Potock. Her book features 20 different vegetables, with kid-tested activities and recipes that will help you introduce each veggie to your kids.
Melanie says kids can learn to love any kind of food–especially vegetables–using her “Three E’s” formula:
- EXPOSE your child to new vegetables with sensory, hands–on, educational activities.
- EXPLORE the characteristics of each veggie (texture, taste, temperature, and more) with yummy and easy recipes.
- EXPAND your child’s palate and your family’s repertoire with inventive vegetable dishes.
Both of my boys loved these beet cupcakes–and yes, they knew there were beets in them. And if you make them, be sure your kids know too. Even better: Make these cupcakes together!
A few quick notes about this recipe:
- I iced mine with cream cheese frosting because I had the ingredients on hand, but you can also top them with homemade whipped cream (just omit the raspberries from that recipe to make plain whipped cream)
- My blender only partially pulverized the cooked beet, so I put 1/2 cup of the partially-pulverized beet along with the milk into the blender to fully puree it.
- I swapped in canola oil (I have a bad digestive reaction to coconut oil) and they turned out well.
Just the process of cooking can lead to exploring new tastes. That's why we like to lick the batter off the spoon. There is no raw egg in this batter, so go ahead and give it a lick! For another fun tasting experience, add a surprise treat while you're making these cupcakes: a rosy smoothie shot! After you puree the beets, don't wash out the blender jar, which is coated with "good-for-yous" that should never go down the drain. Just throw in 1/4 cup frozen berries (blueberries are my favorite!) and a splash of orange juice and blend.
- 8-9 ounces packaged cooked beets (or 1 large roasted beet)*
- 1 cup 2 percent milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted (not hot) coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Whipped cream (for the final touch), from a can or homemade
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the beets in a blender and pulverize to your heart's content. Measure out 1/2 cup of the resulting beet puree and set it aside to use in the cupcakes.
Pour the milk or almond milk into a small bowl and whisk in the vinegar. While giving the milk 5 to 10 minutes to curdle slightly, line two muffin pans with paper liners and sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.
Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and pureed beets to the curdled milk and beat with an electric beater until it's foamy.
Gently and slowly add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue to beat the cupcake mix until it is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, except for two--eat those.
Pour the cupcake batter into the muffin liners, filling each halfway. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes on the center rack of the oven, until a toothpick inserted into two spots in a cupcake comes out clean, ensuring that any wetness isn't just melted chocolate chips.
Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.
Top each cupcake with a swirl (or dollop) of whipped cream, or add a dollop of cream cheese frosting.
*To roast beets: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Before washing, slice off the greens and place them in a plastic bag. The greens will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days if you wait to wash them. Wash the beets, dry with a paper towel, and coat lightly with oil before wrapping them individually in aluminum foil. Place them in a small metal pan to prevent them from rolling. Roast for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the foil and peeling.
Recipe used with permission from Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes by Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, The Experiment, 2018.
Photos by Eric Harvey Brown except cupcake photo by Sarah Smith.
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