Friday, December 11, 2009

Rating the butternut squash cupcake muffins

I teach a creative writing class at the local elementary school and at the end of each grading period, we have an American Idol-like writing celebration. When I asked my most recent class how they wanted to celebrate, they suggested cupcakes and popcorn. Being the softie that I am, I said yes. Then I was faced with the fact that I had agreed to feed them sugar, something I was pretty sure they didn’t need more of in their diet.

So I decided a compromise was in order. I had printed out a Jamie Oliver recipe for butternut squash muffins that he said were similar to carrot cake. I decided to try them and top them with a light, cream cheese icing. (I didn’t think the kids would go for his “frosty top” suggestion. I also left out the nuts since I was trying to pass these off as cupcakes.) Keeping in mind Oliver’s recent work in West Virginia where he’s trying to help people learn to cook and eat with good health in mind, I cut down on the amount of sugar in the muffin recipe by nearly half. I probably made up the amount of sugar in the icing I used.

The result? I liked them, although they definitely were a muffin texture rather than that of a cupcake. My husband, Jim, isn’t a huge dessert fan, but I asked him for a rating.

Jim’s rating: 9
Beth’s rating: 9
Fifth-grader rating:???

I took the experiments into school this morning for our writing celebration. After hearing the students read several exceptional stories for our guest judges, I uncovered the snacks for the day. I must admit that I cannot claim a roaring success with the muffin cupcakes. Only two students even picked up one to eat. (I was right about the nuts; they didn’t choose the ones with nuts on top.) They did eat the whole thing, but I didn’t hear any rave reviews except from the adults who assisted me with the celebration.

Would I do it again? I would definitely make this recipe again. But before I tried to pass it off as a cupcake, I would like to learn more about the different between creating a cake-like texture and a bread-like texture. In the meantime, I still have a couple of leftovers to enjoy!

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