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Students promote local foods with apple recipe contest

Article Published: Oct. 6, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 6, 2011
Students promote local foods with apple recipe contest

Watauga High School students Anna Jenson, Deacon Sinanian and Denver Elliot won ‘best overall recipe’ with caramel apple cheesecake bars in the Healthy Apple Recipe Contest.

Photo submitted

Last week, high school students from Mountain Alliance, a culinary class and a travel and tourism class learned a bit more about the importance of supporting local foods, especially apples.

Todd Nolt and his Mountain Alliance students picked apples from more than 150 varieties available at Moretz’s Mountain Orchard in Todd on Monday. They delivered 21 bushels to ProStart, a culinary class taught by family and consumer science teacher Tierra Berry.

Alison Garrett’s travel and tourism class, which marketing is a prerequisite for, spread the word about the schoolwide winning recipe tasting that was held on Friday, right after school. The class organized an apple trivia contest, designed a T-shirt promoting local food and encouraged students to attend the recipe tasting by passing out local apples for students to enjoy on Friday morning.

Teachers also participated by judging the recipes on flavor, creativity and appearance. Health promotion professionals judged the healthfulness of the recipes based on how much it had improved over the original recipe.

This project was supported with grant funding from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

One of the purposes of the grant is to reach and educate more consumers about the value of locally grown produce. Partner organizations promoting local foods include N.C. Cooperative Extension, New River Organic Growers, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and High Country CSA.

For more information about what you can do to support our local food economy, visit

And the winning recipe from students Deacon Sinanian, Denver Elliot and Anna Jensen:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

6 apples
1 cup light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
½ cup melted butter
½ cup finely chopped pecans
3-8 oz. packages Neufchatel cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Peel apples.

Cut into ½-inch-thick wedges.

Toss together apples and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture. Sauté 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender and golden. Cool completely.

Stir together cinnamon graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and chopped pecans.
Press mixture on bottom of a large baking pan.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack and cool completely before filling.
Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining brown sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended and smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared crust. Arrange apples over cream cheese mixture.

Bake 55 minutes to 1 hr and 5 minutes or until set.

Eat while hot or cool on wire rack (2hrs) and then chill in refrigerator at least 8 hours.

Following was a close second place:

Apple and Rhubarb Muffins

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/3 cups applesauce
½ cup cooking oil
1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb
Cinnamon & sugar mix

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lightly grease twenty-four cup muffin pan or line with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl, combine flour(s), baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Make a well in the center – set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, applesauce and cooking oil.

Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).
Fold in rhubarb.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar mix.

Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for five minutes.

Eat while warm, and enjoy!

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact her, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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