Sweet Beet Treats: A Healthy Alternative
Red Beet Cupcakes
We have an awesome cupcake store in our neighborhood and every now and then we take the kids by to enjoy a special treat. Without fail, their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye actually tastes, but put something like it in front of them and their immediate response is, “that one”.
My take on these cupcakes have a rich flavor, and while they aren’t as artificially red as the red velvet cupcakes which use chemical food dyes (and of course chocolate which this one doesn’t include), they (and their icing) get their bright, reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious and 100% natural guest, roasted beets. Especially given the never-ending speculation about the connection between food dyes and hyperactivity in children, having smart alternatives for the artificially colored food that kids crave means I don’t have to deprive my little ones.
This doesn’t mean we’re not frequenting our local cupcake store any less often, but I always like reminding myself that whenever there’s something out there I may not be thrilled about my kids eating, figuring out how to make a healthier version is not at all impossible.
Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (Make 2 Cups)
1- 8 oz Pkg. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Medium Beet, roasted, cooled, peeled and pureed, about ½ cup
1 Tsp Vanilla
1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy.
2. Spread on cupcakes.
Red Beet Cupcakes (makes 14 cupcakes)
- Prep Time:5 minutes,
- Cook Time: 25 minutes,
- Total Time: 30 minutes,
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 large beet, roasted, cooled, peeled and pureed, about 3/4 cup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 2. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl.
- 3. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.
- 4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.
- 5. Pour about 1/3 cup into lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
- 6. Cool and serve.
“I don’t like beets”! That was my darling son’s response when I told him I had made Sweet Beet Cookies. I thought sandwiching the word beet between sweet and cookie would serve as sufficient enough distraction for Kenya. Not so much. And since I never want to trick my kids into eating foods that are good for them and hope they learn to love them on their own, simply calling this recipe something like Red Cookies was out of the question.
But if the name itself wasn’t a selling point, the site of these cookies was. As soon as Kenya actually saw them, his eyes lit up. “They’re beautiful,” he said. “I love beets!” As Kenya will now attest, not only are these cookies gorgeous, perfectly sweet and super crunchy, they’re also packed with folates and vitamin C. They’re the kind of treats that make everyone happy. Beet that!
Sweet Beet Cookies (Makes about (50) 1 inch square cookies)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raw beets, shredded fine*
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. Combine the first four ingredients and stir to combine.
- 3. Using your hands, add the beets to the flour mixture coating the beet pieces with the flour.
- 4. Add the oil and work with your hands to bring the dough together (the salt and sugar will fall to the bottom of the bowl so make sure you knead the dough well to combine everything — the outcome will be a smooth dough).
- 5. Form the smooth, sweet beet dough into a flat rectangular disk and roll it out 1/2 inch thick on parchment paper or a dry clean surface.
- 6. Using a knife, cut the dough into squares or use small cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
- 7. Bake on a Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet for 15-17 minutes.
- 8. Cool and serve.
- *You can only use RAW fine shredded beets for this recipe. Using canned beets will not work because of the thickness of the beets and they are already cooked.
- *These cookies are best stored on the counter in an air-tight container.