Tyler Manley and Margaret Wenger, leaders of Growing Green Works with the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), among those featured in today's WNY Refresh cover story make the 30 teen workers who are part of the summer work program taste everything they make in their cooking classes at least once.
“Sometimes we’ll make beet muffins or beet cupcakes,” Manley said, “and ask, ‘How’d you like the cupcakes?’ and they’ll say, ‘Loved ‘em,’ and we’ll say, ‘There were beets in them,’ and they’ll say ‘Ewwwww.’
“But they loved it.”
The leaders don’t make it a practice to disguise vegetables into their recipes and spring one on their young charges, but with beet-laden baked goods, they make an exception.
Otherwise, Manley said, “you’d never get a teenager to eat a beet muffin.”
Here’s a recipe for beet cupcakes, inspired by a “Secret Chocolate Cake” recipe in the children’s cookbook “Simply in Season,” by Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman:
2 cups of beets
½ cup applesauce
1½ cups sugar (or
½ cup oil
½ cup plain yogurt
1½ teaspoons of vanilla
1¼ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup baking cocoa
1½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt; 1 cup chocolate chips.
• Boil beets for 20 minutes, then peel and chop them, puree them with applesauce in a blender and set aside.
• Mix the sugar, oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla for 2 minutes.
• Mix into the beet mixture the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
• For cupcakes or muffins, pour the batter into muffin trays and top with chocolate chips.
• For the cake, pour half the mixture into a greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the batter, then pour the remaining batter on top.
• Bake at 350 degrees for up to 45 to 50 minutes for the cake; the cupcakes and muffin shouldn't take as long.
– Scott Scanlon;