Any time you use the word “healthy” to describe a dessert, you’re bound to get some rolled eyes… so do what I do: just don’t tell anyone.
Yesterday, with beets in the house and a hankering for something rich and chocolatey, it occurred to me to combine the two. Apparently I’m not the first; there are a number of “beetroot brownie” recipes out there, but none of them were exactly what I wanted. First of all, most brownie recipes seem to use cocoa powder, while I prefer using unsweetened baking chocolate for a richer, deeper choco flavor. Then, in the case of the beet brownie recipes I found, people seemed to be simply adding beet puree to a regular batch of brownies, and the accompanying photos confirmed my suspicions that this would produce a result that was overly moist, to the point of almost falling apart. I read one blog post that replaced all fat with beet puree, as many low-fat cooks do with prune puree or applesauce, but that’s going a little too far, even for me.
So, once again, I find myself improvising. The resulting recipe, found below, satisfied my best hopes for a lucious, velvety chocolate treat, complimented by the barely-detectable earthiness of beets. The fact that the beets cut the sugar and fat content of these delectable confections is just an added bonus.
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 large or 2 small beets (for about 1 cup puree)
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350º and lightly grease or spray the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan. Roast, steam, or boil your beet until it is extremely tender (a knife stuck into the center should slide back out easily). Set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, melt together butter and baking chocolate over a double-boiler, stirring regularly. Take care not to heat the chocolate too quickly or too high, or it will seize. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. If you’re adding chocolate chips, toss them into the flour. Once chocolate and butter are completely melted, stir in sugar. Beat eggs in a small bowl, then slowly add the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. Peel and puree beets, then stir into chocolate mixture, along with vanilla. Add to flour and mix until just combined. Pour into 9×9 and bake 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the pan comes out almost clean.
Next time you’ve got leftover beets, or just want to sneak an extra helping of antioxidant goodness into your diet, I highly recommend trying these beet brownies. And if you’re serving them to someone who balks at the notion that desserts can be delicious and nutritious, feel free to “pull a Maddie”… and just neglect to mention it.