Beet Cupcakes

Minnesotans treasure their state fair. I remember when I was in college and I went to the Florida State Fair expecting the kind of excitement, food and creative activities that Minnesota had but it just wasn’t the same. I, like my fellow Minnesotans, LOVE the Minnesota State Fair. I love the food, the Leinenkugel’s bandshell, the baby animal barn and I especially love the Creative Activities building. I love staring at the sparkling strawberry jams, perfect pies and golden breads. I know that so much love went into each and every recipe and whatever the food item is, it meant something to that person because they thought it was special enough to be entered into the fair. There are many different kinds of baking and cooking contests at the state fair. Click here to find out about the contests and how to enter.

The UnBEETable Chocolate Cupcakes recipe is something I am making for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship. Beets have quite a bad rap considering they are the sweetest vegetable. Their juice is thought to be an aphrodisiac but they actually have great health benefits too, including heart disease and cancer prevention and are even good for women who are pregnant as they are loaded with folic acid. Right now farmer’s markets and CSAs are booming with beets. I picked up several bunches of beets at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market last weekend for $1 a bunch. I steam my beets with the skins on and then let them cool. The skin peels off like paper and then I reserve the beet water to add to smoothies. The beets keep the cupcakes moist and give it extra sweetness without adding extra sugar. Enjoy and wish me luck in the Minnesota State Fair!

Click here to watch the July 23, 2010 episode of TCL when I made this recipe.

Ingredients
3 cups Cooked Beets (You can also use 2 cans of beets)
1 3/4 cup Heavy Cream, divided
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate (you can substitute Sweetened Cocoa)
2 Eggs
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
11.5 oz bag of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (you can substitute regular semisweet chips)
1 cup Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Pieces (you can substitute regular semisweet chips)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. In a blender, puree 3 cups of beets and 3/4 cup of heavy cream, creating 2 cups of beet puree.

Mix beet puree, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, sugar and Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate until blended. Add eggs one at a time and mix. Set mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt and blend together. Gradually add flour mixture to beet mixture. Once combined, add Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.

Spray 2 (12 mold) muffin pans with nonstick spray (cupcake liners are not needed). Pour ¼ cup of batter in for each cupcake. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

Once cupcakes are cooled, bring 1 cup heavy cream to a boil. Create chocolate ganache, by placing 1 cup of Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Pieces into a bowl and pouring the boiling heavy cream over the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Dip each cupcake top into the chocolate ganache and let cool.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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