Vegan Beet Muffins

I haven't been very good about keeping up with my blogging. Every time I sit down to write, there seems to be something or the other to distract me. And yet, it's not even like I'm that busy. We did have friends visit back-to-back but that was great, and more like a fun culinary trip through StL with good conversations. 
The days have been chilling to the bone, and I'm so not used to this weather. I miss my long walks in Forest Park, but Mila gets muscle cramps being outside for too long. And then there was that whole debacle in Atlanta over two inches of snowMy niece was almost stranded at her elementary school and 150 students there spent the night! And baby was born on the highway, so...'nuff said. I love my hometown but, yeesh.

I mostly spend my days baking macarons because I'm traveling so much this year that I need to store as many as I can before I go on my trips.
First up, Turks and Caicos with my family. We have never done a trip like this before, with our entire family in one place for a week, with no escape. Joe included. As of now, it's set to rain the first three days we're there so...there's that to look forward to. Either way, I'm sort of excited to spending a week with my loved ones, even though I'm sure we'll all drive each other crazy at various points. We wouldn't be a family if we didn't. 
And I'm happy that Joe is coming along to witness it all, since he might as well start getting used to it now. I haven't even told him how no one in my family actually goes into the water at beaches (the boy is so excited about snorkeling and all water sports). I grew up by the beach in Mumbai and don't recall ever going into the water past my ankles. Joe also recently explained to me that the swimming I thought I was doing all these years is actually just doggy-paddling, le sigh.

My baking would have fallen to the wayside if not for Sauce magazine. I've been free-lancing for them for about three years now and although I don't really feel connected to the team since I don't work at the offices, it's been nice to get comped for recipes/posts that I'd be doing on this blog anyway. The recipes have to be altered a good bit to make them mine so the column keeps me on my toes in terms of inventing/creating flavor combinations. It's also nice to be connected to the St Louis food community in this way--Sauce is definitely one of the best food magazines I've ever read and it has a wide-reaching audience in the city.

I made these beet muffins a while back when I had a craving for Whisk's chocolate beet cupcakes and they turned out so deliciously moist and fluffy. It's a vegan recipe but since I'm not vegan, I paired them with a peanut butter frosting that was heavenly. But you can certainly enjoy these just as muffins if you like--they are extremely chocolaty and soft. 
I ate these for breakfast for many days and made them twice more in the same month for friends. It's so easy to put together and to freeze for a later time (pre-frosted, of course). 

Actually, I might just go make these to take for our trip...! 
See you guys when I get back :)

{currently listening to Bottled Up Tight by Luke Sital-Singh}

Vegan Beet Muffins (with non-vegan Peanut Butter Frosting)
Adapted from a recipe at the Minimalist Baker
Makes about 10-12

2 baby beets, trimmed and scrubbed*
¼ cup coconut oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup milk (or almond milk if making vegan), divided
1 tsp. vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 heaping Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Scant ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch Kosher salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the beets on a piece of foil, drizzle with a bit of oil, wrap them tightly, and roast 45 minutes, until tender. Remove from foil and let cool to room temperature.
• Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
• Puree the cooled beets with ½ cup of milk until combined. In a separate large bowl, add the vinegar to the other half of the milk and set aside until it curdles a bit.
• Beat  the sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and pureed beets into the curdled milk until foamy. Fold in the chocolate chips and stir until the batter is smooth.
• Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Let cool completely before unwrapping and store in an airtight container. 
Frost with peanut butter frosting if desired.

*Pre-roasted beets are available at Trader Joe’s.

Peanut Butter Frosting

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat the butter and peanut butter together in a medium bowl. 
Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, and as the mixture thickens, add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is thick. 
Beat at least 3 minutes until fluffy.


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