Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

"There are beets in these? Really?" That was the overwhelming reaction to the cupcakes I served at my daughter's birthday party this weekend. The next statement, "So that's what you're doing with all those beets!" (I had been posting pictures like this for weeks.)

As part of our CSA share I signed up for the extra cost "preserver" option. I had been getting a lot of "second" beets. That's right, it's not just Old Navy Outlet shirts that are seconds. Some beets are just not as pretty as others and these aren't sold to restaurants. Lucky for me I just puree them and then they look beautiful. All of the above beets were topped & tailed (translation- I chopped the roots and tops off) and then they roasted in the crockpot for a few hours. I pureed them peels and all and measured 12 oz into each freezer bag. Seal them, double checking to make sure the top is sealed, and then spread the bag flat. You can store a ton of them in very little space in the freezer this way. Since they are thin they also thaw very quickly. The cupcakes made from these are moist, gooey and delicious. They are like individual brownies or chocolate cakes.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
Makes 12

1 1/2 cups pureed beets (you can use a can of beets & puree them if you'd like- a 15 oz can with a little additional water would do the trick)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 + 1/8 cup milk (can be replaced w/ non dairy milk for vegan)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (can be replaced w/ carob chips for vegan version) The chocolate chips add a gooey decadent feel to the cupcakes- reduce the amount if you don't want them as gooey.

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In mixer, mix together beet puree, flour, sugar, cocoa, and milk. (I measure everything out using a 1/4 cup measure- then I use the same cup to "dose" out each cupcake into the pan, only 1 cup to wash then!). Add the salt, soda, and powder and mix. Add the chocolate chips and mix to distribute. The batter will look luscious and red velvet-esque.

Use liners! These moist cupcakes are easiest to store when in liners.
3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Take out and let them cool. Resist the temptation to eat them all. If you're throwing a monster birthday party for your 2 year old feel free to frost them and give them eyes made out of candy :) They also freeze fantastically and can be pulled out and microwaved for 30-60 seconds for a quick chocolate fix that's chock full of veggies!

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