ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 3

Week 3 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Mar. 27, 2020.

Welcome to week 3 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a daily schedule of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, experiments, activities, and quizzes. This week, we have a recipe from My First Cookbook (designed specifically for kids ages 5 to 8), play around with food textures, make smoothies and explore the spectacular world of fruits, explore the science of popcorn (and make a popcorn snack), bake a GIANT chocolate chip cookie, and discover how easy it is to make your own cheese at home using just two ingredients.

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging us @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending us photos And check out the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content, designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one place.

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of March 30th through April 5th.

Banana-Oat PancakesMake It Your Way Challenge: Food Texture Mix and Match
From left: Banana-Oat Pancakes, Make It Your Way: Food Texture Mix-and-Match

Monday, March 30 — Banana–Oat Pancakes

This pantry-friendly pancake recipe was developed with younger chefs in mind (ages 5 to 8)—though it’s delicious and fun for chefs of any age! Each recipe step on our website is accompanied by a photograph, so early or non-readers can follow along. Kids can do most of the measuring, whisking, and mixing and adults can take charge when things move to the stove.

What You’ll Need
1¼ cups (6¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas
1½ cups (12 ounces) milk
1 cup (3 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
Vegetable oil spray

Learning Moment
Math (counting and multiplication):
Ask kids to count how many pancakes go in each batch (three) and how many pancakes they make in the entire recipe (15). If kids have learned multiplication, ask: If there are three pancakes in each batch and we are making five batches, how many pancakes will we make in total? Kids can also count how many ingredients and how many pieces of equipment are needed to make the recipe.


Tuesday, March 31 — Food Texture Mix and Match

In this Make It Your Way Challenge, kids think about the different texture they experience when eating a meal, snack, or even a single bite of food (think: smooth yogurt with crunchy granola, creamy ice cream with gooey hot fudge, tender pancakes with sticky maple syrup . . . )

Challenge kids to use what’s in their pantry or refrigerator to create their own snack or meal that includes at least three different textures. They can make something savory (like a sandwich or salad) or something sweet (like an ice cream sundae). Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert—anything goes!

What You’ll Need
Use food that you have on hand for this activity.

Learning Moment
Language Arts (vocabulary):
This recipe provides a great opportunity for kids to build their vocabulary of texture words. Before they begin the challenge, have a family brainstorming session and see how many texture words you can come up with. Write them down on a piece of paper and post them in the kitchen or wherever your family is cooking or eating these days. While you’re eating, ask kids (and grown-ups) how many textures they can identify in whatever they’re eating!
(Some food texture words to get you started: crunchy, soft, chewy, gooey, sticky, tender, and smooth.)


Mixed Berry SmoothiesThat's a Fruit? QuizGiant Chocolate Chip Cookie
From left; Smoothies, That's a Fruit? quiz, Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Wednesday, April 1 — Smoothies & That’s a Fruit? Quiz

We love smoothies as part of breakfasts, lunches, or as a quick, refreshing snack. Our team has published five kid-tested and kid-approved varieties, so there’s a smoothie flavor for everyone!

As they sip their smoothies, kids can explore the wide world of fruit with our That’s a Fruit? quiz. They’re probably familiar with fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, and berries. But depending on where they live around the world, kids might find themselves snacking on some totally different fruits. In this quiz, they guess the names of different fruits from around the world and learn fun facts along the way.

What You’ll Need
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup plain yogurt

See individual recipes for additional ingredients:
Mixed Berry Smoothies
Strawberry-Peach Smoothies
Cherry-Almond Smoothies
Tropical Fruit Smoothies
Kale-Pineapple Smoothies

Learning Moment
Art (Color and color mixing):
Ask kids to identify the colors of the individual ingredients going into their smoothies and to predict what they think the final color of their smoothie will be. For each color they name, ask if it’s a primary color (red, yellow, or blue) or a secondary color (made from mixing two primary colors).


Thursday, April 2 — Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

What could be better than a tray of chocolate chip cookies? How about a HUGE chocolate chip cookie? To make our Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie perfectly round, we use a springform pan. (If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a 9-inch round cake pan instead—you’ll just have to flip the cookie out of the cake pan before serving, like you would a cake.) We highly recommend serving warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

You’ll also need to do a few minutes of prep work today for tomorrow’s experiment, The Secret to Fluffy Popcorn (see step 1 of the experiment for details).  

What You’ll Need

Vegetable oil spray
1 cup (5 ounces) all-­purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup packed (3½ ounces) dark brown sugar
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips

Learning Moment
For Older Chefs:
Math (Geometry): While the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie is cooling, challenge kids to estimate and then calculate the area of their cookie. They’ll first need to find the cookie’s radius (measure straight across the cookie (the diameter) and divide that measurement by two to determine the radius). Then, they need to plug the radius into the formula for the area of a circle: Area = π x r2. Remember, pi equals 3.14. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a library of high-quality resources for teaching mathematics to kids. 

For Younger Chefs:
Math (Fractions): Have your young chef help you cut the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie into twelve servings (12ths). First, have them help cut it in half. Then into fourths. Then, ask how they would turn ¼ into ⅟12? (Cut each ¼ section into three pieces.)


The Secret to Fluffy PopcornReal Buttered PopcornDIY Ricotta Cheese
From left: The Secret to Fluffy Popcorn, Real Buttered Popcorn, DIY Ricotta Cheese

Friday, April 3 — The Secret to Fluffy Popcorn & Real Buttered Popcorn

In this experiment, kids learn why popcorn pops (and why popcorn gets so fluffy). Plus, they’ll make a batch of microwave popcorn to eat as a snack. You’ll need to do a bit of prep work before you begin: You’ll soak some of the popcorn kernels in water (this is what you started yesterday) and you’ll dehydrate other popcorn kernels in a low oven for at least two hours. Then it’s time to get popping. 

After they complete the experiment, kids can turn their science experiment into a snack by following the steps in Real Buttered Popcorn. 

What You’ll Need
¾ cup popcorn kernels
1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt

Learning Moment
Science (solids, liquids, and gases):
In this experiment, kids learn that steam (and having just the right amount of it) is what causes popcorn to transform from tiny, hard kernels into fluffy, light popcorn. Ask kids where else they have noticed steam when they’ve been in the kitchen.


Saturday & Sunday, April 4 - 5 — DIY Ricotta Cheese

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make your own creamy ricotta cheese at home—in fact, it takes just three ingredients. Dollop your finished ricotta on top of pizza or pasta once it’s finished cooking, or spread it onto crunchy toast and add your favorite sweet or savory toppings.

What You’ll Need
8 cups pasteurized (not UHT or ultra-pasteurized) whole milk (Most milk sold at grocery stores fits this description.)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup distilled white vinegar, plus extra as needed

Learning Moment
Science (Chemistry):
Making cheese is all about chemistry! To help kids connect milk to cheese have them look at the nutrition label on the milk carton and read what milk contains (focus on proteins, fat, and carbohydrates (sugars)). Then, when they see the cheese curds form, point out that those are some of the proteins from the milk clumping together, or coagulating. (The recipe page has a detailed, kid-friendly explanation of the whole process!)


The Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.  
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