Autumn: Beetroot and Cacao Muffins

Is autumn here yet?

The leaves are starting to change here in South Eastern Victoria, Australia, but the weather is still unsure of herself. One day it is 30 degrees big blue skies and the next day it is 12 degrees overcast and gray. Often, this time of year tends to feel like a never ending summer and this summer with record highs certainly fits the pattern. However, autumn is surely making its way in. The light has that fall softness, the days are getting shorter and our bodies are yearning perhaps even pleading to slow down.

For most of us, slowing down is a true privilege and luxury but the more we find time to be still and relax the more balanced and nourished we will be during the transition season of autumn. In traditional healing modalities like Ayurveda, fall is the time of air + ether – the qualities of vata. This can be seen, felt and reflected in nature with the leaves changing, drying and falling, drier days and the onset of cooler weather. In order to balance this dryness, turn your mind to foods and herbs that are the opposite – sweet, warm and moist. And nothing says autumn like thick soups, slow cooked tagines and sweets made with root vegetables to ground and connect us to the earth.

 

These muffins combine the goodness of the last of our summer beetroot and the richness of cacao for a delightful chocolate and earthy sweetness without being sickly. The less sugar I eat the less I want or carve overly sweet things to the point where I do not eat many sweets anymore, even many of the raw desserts ( I know – ahhh!) because they just make me feel unwell if they are too sweet or rich. Oh the plant based life is a natural blessing!

These grounding muffins make a lovely healthy change for an Easter treat as only contain a small amount of natural unrefined sugar. If you are after a little more of sweet kick then drizzle on the rich cacao syrup for some added yum.

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 250 gm of beetroot, peeled and grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) of rapadura sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) of organic cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) of almond meal – I use the almonds left over from making almond milk 1/2 cup (75 g) of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of sunflower seed milk (or any other nut or seed milk)
  • 2 tbl of maple syrup
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds
  • 2 tspn of gluten free baking powder*
  • a pinch of salt

* Make your own with a ratio of 2:1 2  =cream of tartar, 1 = bicarbonate soda

Cacao syrup

  • 1/4 cup (25 g) of organic cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of honey
  • 1 tspn of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) of water

Method

Muffins

  • Preheat your oven to 160 Celsius (150 if oven is fan forced)
  • Place the grated beetroot, eggs, rapadura sugar, cacao, almond meal, buckwheat flour, baking powder, maple syrup, chia seeds, salt and sunflower seed milk into a large bowl and combine well.
  • Divide the mixture evenly  into a 6 x 1/2 cup muffin tray 9grease well or use muffin liners).
  • Cook for 25 minute or until a skewer comes out clean.

Syrup

  • Place cacao, honey, vanilla and water in a small saucepan and cook on a medium heat until it begins to thicken. Stir occasionally so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Drizzle the cakes with the syrup.