The story behind conventional chocolate is truly dark and bitter -a tale riddled with evil players and injustice. In response to disparate free trade practices, an alternative – fair trade – has taken hold to bring artisan crafts, coffee, bananas, and of course, chocolate, to the United States without devastating the regions that produce them. While not without its own problems, this form of trading goods improves the environment, the social welfare, and the relationships between producers and consumers around the globe.
The chocolate chocolate chip muffin recipe below uses fair trade chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and sugar. Instead of hiding abuse and colonialism, these muffins hide a different blood-red secret that’s good for you: beets! By also replacing much of the sugar from a typical muffin recipe with agave nectar, and most of the oil with pureed apples, these muffins are a sweet treat you can feel good about.
3 medium beets
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
1/2 c. fair trade evaporated cane juice (or fair trade granulated sugar)
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/4 c. (or 4 tbsp.) melted butter
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 c. water
1 c. sifted unbleached unenriched all purpose flour
3/4 c. sifted whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. fair trade cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. fair trade chocolate chips
Prepare the fruits and veggies: boil the unpeeled beets whole (cutting off the greens if still attached first) in a saucpan until easily pierced by a fork, about thirty to forty minutes. Put into a food processor or blender with the chopped apples and puree until smooth.
Prepare the wet mixture: Beat the 2 eggs with the sugar until frothy (about 3-5 minutes on high). Mix in the agave nectar, melted butter, vanilla, beet/apple mixture, and water. Mix just until well combined.
Prepare the dry mixture: Stir the sifted flours, cocoa, salt, and baking soda until well mixed. Gradually add the flour ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/3 c. chocolate chips.
Fill greased and floured muffin tins 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, once a toothpick comes out clean. Recipe makes 18 muffins.