Building community and a healthy food system, one bite at a time.

Recipe: Chocolate Birch Syrup & Blueberry-Beet Ganache Cupcakes

There are endless ways to prepare beets. Simple preparation is ideal for one of Alaska’s heartiest crops. Either roasting or steaming them with just a splash of oil and a pinch of salt won’t mask beets’ earthy taste. The subtle sweetness of these bright purple root veggies also pairs well with robust sauces and bold flavors. In addition to savory side dishes, beets lend themselves to sweet treats like purees, coulis and cakes.

This year I added chopped beets to my blueberry freezer jam which ended up being more delicious than expected, as the beets added a new depth of flavor to the usually tart jam. This flavor combination inspired a dark chocolate ganache that is perfect for filling and infusing Alaska grown goodness into any chocolate cupcake.

This is a great recipe to prepare late into the winter months with steamed and frozen beets and traditional canned blueberry jam, or easy to make freezer jam.

How to store your beets: If you don’t freeze your cooked beets, they can still last for several months if you store them properly. Beets will last for a couple weeks the fridge after they are washed, but to extend their shelf life store your beets in your own ‘root cellar’ just pick a cool, dark and fairly humid place for your beets. 55 degrees is a good temperature, so basements are usually ideal.

Spiced blueberry beet ganache

2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate, or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 medium steamed or roasted beets, skin off
1/8 cup blueberry jam
1 tsp cardamom
2-3 tsp cinnamon
Cook the chocolate and heavy whipping cream in the top of a double boiler over just simmering water. (I make my own double boiler by using a Pyrex bowl that fits into my pot) Stir occasionally until smooth.
Puree the beets and blueberry jam together in a food processor and add to the warm ganache. Stir until incorporated.

1382091_800577633318906_2099312089597279918_nChocolate birch syrup cupcakes

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup birch syrup
1 cup water
½ melted butter
2 tsps vanilla
1 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the birch syrup, sugar, water, melted butter, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk to combine.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated and all of the dry ingredients disappear. Pour batter into cupcake papers. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

To make truffles from the ganache

Place ganache in the freezer for a few hours. Gather a scoop of the ganache and roll into a ball. Roll in cocoa powder and put on wax paper. These truffles (because of the fruit) must not be stored at room temperature or they will be too soft to serve.

In order to fill cupcakes

Ganache should be still be soft enough to stir easily, but not hot to the touch. Use a small serrated knife to cut a down into cupcakes. Gently saw a cone out of cupcakes. Cut the tip of the cone off to leave room for the filling. Scoop a spoonful of ganache into the cupcake and place top back on. Dust with confectioners sugar.

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Kate Powers

Kate Powers, Co-Founder

Despite having her easy bake oven confiscated from her for questionable experiments, Kate Powers still convinced her Dad to let her continue to bake and cook without recipes. She loves cooking meals for her friends and family, she particularly loves cooking Latin American cuisine, especially Central American and Spanish food where she has been lucky enough to live and study. Kate has a particular interest in immigration and refugee resettlement issues, as well as farm and labor rights. She can make perfect duck egg omelettes, just ask her about it.