Juniors prepare tasty STAR project

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk put the finishing touches on a cheesecake for their STAR event. They substituted peanut butter with sunflower butter to suit people with peanut allergies. Photos by Hannah Mumpower.

‘Indulgent Dessert’ addresses food allergies

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk made a delicious creation for their FCCLA STAR event.

Many FCCLA members compete in STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events, which cover a wide variety of topics related to Family and Consumer Sciences. Events are separated into three divisions: Junior division which covers students in the 6-9th grade, Senior division is open to 10-12th grade and the Occupational division is open to any student who intends to pursue a career that is related to that event.

STAR events can be done either individually or in groups of up to three people. They usually begin with a planning process and can include multiple elements such as speeches, research, visuals, presentations and various other elements. After completing their STAR events, students will then present these elements to judges at District, State and even National competitions.

Wabaunsee FCCLA has 23 members competing in STAR events this year. On February 6, these students will take their STAR events to Districts at Nemaha Central. To move on to the State competition in Wichita on April 7, students must place 1st in their event at Districts with a score of 85 or above. If they place 1st or 2nd at the State competition with a score of 85 or above, students will then move on to the National competition in Anaheim, Fla. in July.

Juniors Eleanor Badeker and Macy Falk are participating in the Food Innovations Senior STAR event. Food Innovations recognizes participants who demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts of food product development by creating an original recipe, testing the product with sample groups and creating a marketing strategy. They demonstrate their knowledge of food science, nutrition, food preparation safety and product marketing. Participants must prepare a display, suggested product packaging and an oral presentation.

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The sunflower cheesecake, and “indulgent dessert,” features a crushed Oreo crust, homemade toffee and caramel sauce with semisweet melted chocolate chips.

“This year we were assigned to do an indulgent dessert,” Badeker said. “We had to modify it and make it our own. We came up with an idea because it had a personal connection to my allergy. Obviously with my allergy there are a lot of things that I miss out on, so we decided to create a dessert that people with nut allergies could safely have that would be similar to something that they can’t usually have.”

Badeker and Falk are taking the recipe for a peanut butter butterfinger cheesecake and are creating what they call a Sunflower Cheesecake. “The steps we take are to do the planning process first and then make the food item and have certain people judge them and then we make the food item again,” Falk said. “We took a peanut butter butterfinger cheesecake and replaced the peanut butter with sunflower butter and the butterfinger with a toffee that we made ourselves,” Badeker said.

Badeker and Falk have made their Sunflower Cheesecake two times. Each time they made it, they had it tasted by a sample group of WHS staff and students including those with nut allergies and those without. They had the tasters fill out a review sheet each time they sampled the cheesecake. After the first sampling, changes were made to the toppings of the cheesecake. Using the information from the review sheets, Badeker and Falk were able to refine their recipe in order to create a better tasting end product.

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Falk and Badeker drizzle caramel sauce to complete plating their dessert.

Badeker and Falk believe that STAR events are well worth the effort. “STAR events help with your public speaking and help build your leadership skills by taking initiative and creating a project,” Falk said. “It is a great opportunity to develop skills in speaking and doing projects,” Badeker said. “They give you an opportunity to create something and also see new places and have new experiences while working on them. The only con would be that it can sometimes be hard to find time to work on the event among all of the other responsibilities you have.”

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

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