Archive for March 8th, 2013

March 8, 2013

The Bake Sale, Reinvented: Middle School Challenge #4 for the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps

by Melissa Harding


Third place entry from Moon Middle School, Cupcake Renaissance.

During the latest challenge of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps, students were tasked with reinvented the traditional school bake sale. 215 middle school students from 15 schools took existing recipes for baked goods like cookies and cupcakes and transformed them into healthier versions. Recipes could include natural sweeteners only. Of course, they still had to be delicious; challengers brought their recipes in to their classmates for a taste test. Tasters rated these treats with a rubric that included overall appeal, mouth feel, texture and taste. Finally, every entry submitted was accompanied by a photo and an essay explaining the need for rethinking the traditional school bake sale and the ways in which their recipe was healthier than traditional sweets. As usual, area students rose to the challenge, creating entries that ranged from banana-cookie sandwiches to lemon biscotti.

The winning entry, Chocolate-Chip Banana Bites, was submitted by two students from Mellon Middle School. Adapted from an already existing recipe, these students used oat flour in place of processed white flour, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and raw German rock sugar instead of white sugar.  After baking, the students then made them into cookie sandwiches using frozen bananas in place of ice cream. The result is a healthier, but still delicious, version of an ice cream sandwich.  Their classmates gave these treats unanimously high marks!

The second place entry, Hubbard Squash Muffins, was submitted by a student from The Woodland Hills Academy. Using squash, whole wheat flour and organic sugar, this student created a treat that not only tastes great, but also provides antioxidants and healthy fats. This student also included the spice cardamom, which is credited with being rich in iron and manganese. This low calorie treat got great marks from its tasters; they liked it so much that they even left comments – “Yummy! Great!”.

The third place entry, Cupcake Renaissance, was submitted by a student from Moon Area Middle School. A regular cupcake can contain 600 calories and 20 grams of fat; this creative student replaced the butter with unsweetened applesauce and frosted her creations with berry compote instead of icing.  Using fresh strawberries and blueberries and natural cane sugar, this frosting substitute is not only healthier, but also provides antioxidants to boost immunity.

Earning Honorable Mention, Woodland Hills Jr. High School and Woodland Hills Academy submitted several recipes that they worked on as a class. In order to provide a healthier alternative at an upcoming bake sale for the school musical, the class took three traditional recipes and used a list of substitutions – agave nectar, oat flour, applesauce, egg whites, and coconut sugar – to improve them. They experimented with brownies, biscotti and muffins, trying to create the perfect bake sale treat. Throughout their experiments, they learned that it can be hard to change existing recipes, especially since many of the ingredients are necessary to the consistency of the product. They also learned that applesauce can easily take the place of oil and reducing the sugar doesn’t often affect the taste. As taste testers, the cast of the school play was happy to give all of these treats the thumbs-up!

While there can only be three winners in the competition, all the students who learned how to make their favorite treats healthier for everyone are winners! Students from all three winning schools will be interviewed on the Saturday Light Brigade this Saturday, March 9, at 10:05am. The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

If you would like to attempt the first and second place recipes, check them out on the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps blog!

The above photo is courtesy of  Moon Middle School.


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