Parsnip in Halloween Disguise

October 27th, 2011 / Comments 8

Halloween is a holiday when imagination runs wild. Whether you are going to a party or a parade, this is the holiday to join the masquerade.

lynda oval 1 Parsnip in Halloween Disguise

The possibilities are endless – you can present yourself as a superhero or a world leader, a puppy or a princess, a vampire or a bunny rabbit.Halloween treats are everywhere, free when you call out “Trick or Treat” at the home of a friendly neighbor.Thoughts of Halloween disguises and Halloween treats got me to wondering. Could I disguise an often overlooked and sometimes disparaged vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories, in a Halloween treat?

I was thinking about parsnips. To be honest, I have never been a parsnip fan; I’ve cooked them, served them and composted them, generally in that order. My past attempts have been dry, woody, insipid or simply uninspiring.

egg beater 01 Parsnip in Halloween Disguise Time to let my imagination run wild, time to dress up a parsnip as a sweet treat. Grated parsnip, combined with nuts, dried fruit, and sugar, held together with flour and egg, fluffed up with baking powder and oil, disguised in a silver fluted skirt – Say Boo! The costumed parsnip was on its way to the Halloween party. Here’s how I did it:

Parsnip Muffins

I began by preheating the oven to 350 F/175 C and placing foil liners in 18 muffin cups.

I used the largest holes on a box grater to grate two large parsnips to make 2 cups/180 g and one large apple to make 1 cup/100 g. I whisked together 2 cups/200 g of flour, 3/4 cup/100 g of sugar, three-quarters of a teaspoon of baking soda, one and a half teaspoons of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of dry ginger, and half a teaspoon ground nutmeg in a mixing bowl.

I whisked together two eggs, 3/4 cup/180 ml of oil, 1/2 cup/120 ml of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla in a separate bowl. I combined the egg mixture and the flour mixture, added 1 cup/100 g of chopped almonds, 1/2 cup/100 g of chopped dried peaches, the parsnip and apple.

The batter was divided among the muffin cups and baked for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin came out clean. Removed from the pan, the muffins cooled on a wire rack.

With a basket of muffins in hand and a paper asking, “What’s disguised in these muffins?” I set off for a gathering or friends who were putting the church garden to bed for the winter.Fifteen friends sampled the muffins. Their guesses included: coconut, orange, banana, carrots, lemon zest, zucchini, guava, cauliflower, pistachio and my favorite – ground-up donuts. No one guessed parsnips – a perfect disguise!

Perhaps this is the beginning of a new Halloween tradition – Masquerading Vegetables on Parade.

With newfound respect for parsnips I’m looking for other ways to use them. Any thoughts?

Say Boo! A perfect Halloween book, written by my friend Lynda Graham-Barber, along with the parsnips from her garden were the inspiration for is post. Lynda lives in the Northeast Kingdom where she writes, gardens and cooks.

Click here to download and print an ingredients list and recipe.

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