There are some that snack on raw cacao nibs out-of-hand. I am not one of them. I just do not like the taste. But, in these red velvet pistachio cupcakes, the nibs provide a little chewy crunch and a chocolatey burst of flavor. They were not an ingredient in the original recipe. I chose to add them because they were in my pantry and I need to learn to love them. I am stubborn that way. And I do love them... in these cupcakes. Note: The original recipe, from The Healthy Apple, is titled "Gluten-Free Red Velvet Pistachio Coconut Muffins." Since I chose to frost them, I am calling them cupcakes instead... and I, also, condensed the recipe's name a trifle.
Two not overly time-consuming steps are required in advance. First, a beet must be roasted, cooled, peeled, and grated. It will provide the "red velvet" color versus using an entire bottle of red food coloring as in traditional red velvet cake. (Insert a gasp here.) Don't be concerned that you'll taste the beets in the cupcakes. You won't. They'll just add sweetness and nutrients. While the beets are cooling, go here to learn the interesting history of red velvet cake. The second advance prep step is grinding pistachios into flour. Mine needed to be shelled first, but you can buy them already shelled.
I stirred the cacao nibs into the batter just before portioning it into the muffin pan. Dick gave these cupcakes two thumbs up. I am in perfect agreement with that.
Red Velvet Pistachio Cupcakes
1 ½ cups peeled, shredded roasted beets
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup agave nectar (I subbed maple syrup.)
¼ cup pistachios, ground (I used a coffee grinder.)
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (If gluten-sensitive, choose a gluten-free option as suggested in original recipe.)
½ cup cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder.)
¾ cup coconut flakes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup raw cacao nibs (my addition)
Preheat oven to 350°. After peeling, shred roasted beets in a food processor. (I used a box grater instead.) In a bowl, combine all wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry; mix well. Stir in nibs. Fill 9 muffin pan wells with batter. Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool on baking racks. When cooled to room temperature and ready to serve, top each with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of coconut and pistachios. Instead, I chose to spread tops with a simple powdered sugar frosting.