ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 8

Week 8 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published May 1, 2020.

Welcome to week 8 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a daily schedule of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes and hands-on experiments and activities, plus learning moments to help bring some STEAM education into the kitchen.  

This week, kids can make Whole-Wheat Raspberry Muffins for breakfast or snacking, explore how what you hear while you eat affects what you think of food’s flavor and texture, make Shredded Chicken Tacos for family dinner and S’More Rice Cereal Treats for dessert, and whip up some Avocado Toast with Fried Eggs for Mother’s Day breakfast. 

Looking for other special recipes that kids can make to celebrate the moms, grandmothers, or mother figures in your life? Banana-Oat Pancakes are designed with the youngest chefs in mind, while Monkey Bread is a sweet, shareable treat. If a savory breakfast is more her speed, Breakfast Tacos with Bacon might be a great match. And Flourless Chocolate Cakes would certainly be a perfect ending to any Mother’s Day meal. 

We want to hear how Kitchen Classroom is working for you and your family and what you’d like to see in future weeks. Please click this link to complete a short survey about Kitchen Classroom. After completing the survey, you’ll receive a coupon for 10 percent off at the America’s Test Kitchen Shop (restrictions apply).  
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And finally, don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atk kids on Instagram, or by sending photos to Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location. 

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of May 4th through May 10th. 

Whole-Wheat Raspberry MuffinsShredded Chicken TacosEat with Your Ears
From left: Whole-Wheat Raspberry Muffins, Shredded Chicken Tacos, Eat with Your Ears

Monday, May 4 — Whole-Wheat Raspberry Muffins

Perfect for breakfast or a snack, these muffins use whole-wheat flour, which may be easier to find than all-purpose flour at the grocery store these days. Bright, sweet, and tart raspberries add pops of flavor and color. You can use fresh or frozen berries in this recipe. If you don’t have raspberries, you can substitute blackberries, blueberries, or a combination of berries to make mixed berry muffins.

What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
3 cups (16½ ounces) whole-­wheat flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1¼ cups (10 ounces) buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh or frozen raspberries

Learning Moment
Chemistry (Acids and Bases):
is recipe calls for both baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda and baking powder are both chemical leaveners—they help baked goods to rise quickly, without needing to use yeast. What’s the difference between these two ingredients? When baking soda comes in contact with an acid, such as lemon juice or the buttermilk in this recipe, it creates bubbly carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas makes the muffin batter rise in the oven. Baking powder, on the other hand, actually already contains an acid as well as baking soda, so it only needs a liquid to start creating carbon dioxide gas. 

While the muffins bake, kids can see these leaveners in action with a simple science experiment: 

  1. Working in the sink, have kids pour ¼ cup water into 2 tall glasses.
  2. Ask kids to predict what they think will happen when they add baking powder or baking soda to the water. Will they see any bubbly carbon dioxide gas? In which glass(es)?
  3. Have kids add 1 teaspoon baking powder to 1 glass and 1 teaspoon baking soda to second glass. Ask them to share their observations.
    (Answer key: The glass with baking powder should turn bubbly; nothing will happen in the glass with baking soda.)
  4. In a third glass, have kids add ¼ cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon baking soda and observe what happens.
    (Answer key: The acidic buttermilk will react with baking soda to create bubbles.)

Take It Further 
Biology (Plants):
What’s the difference between whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour? Both types of flour are made from wheat—more specifically from the wheat plant’s seeds, which are called wheat berries. Wheat berries are made up of an outer layer, called the bran, which contains lots of fiber and protein. Inside the bran, you’ll find the germ, which is what would eventually grow into a new plant, and the endosperm, which is mostly made of starch. All-purpose flour is made by grinding just the endosperm, while whole-wheat flour is made by grinding the entire wheat berry. This gives whole-wheat flour more protein and fiber than all-purpose flour. Check out this video to see how wheat goes from farm to flour!


Tuesday, May 5 — Shredded Chicken Tacos

This simple recipe for Shredded Chicken Tacos lets kids take the lead on “Taco Tuesday” and make a homemade taco bar! Serve the shredded chicken with flour or corn tortillas and your favorite toppings, such as shredded romaine lettuce or baby spinach, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, and more. 

What You’ll Need
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 (8-­ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 (6-­inch) flour or corn tortillas

Learning Moment
Math (Measurement (Time)):
To make sure the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has just the right consistency, it’s important to keep track of how long things have been on the stove. Before getting started, have kids read through each step of the recipe and take note of anywhere they will have to keep track of time (steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7). 

Give kids an analog or digital clock to use while they cook through the recipe to help them keep track of the timing for each step. If necessary, support and guide kids by asking questions, such as: If we put the chicken in the pan at 5:05pm and it needs to cook for 4 minutes before we flip it over, at what time do we need to flip the chicken? 


Wednesday, May 6 — Eat with Your Ears

Can the sounds around you influence the flavor of your food? Kids (and grown-ups) can find out in this simple science experiment. All you need are headphones and some bittersweet chocolate! Kids will listen to two pieces of music while eating some bittersweet chocolate. As they listen and eat, they’ll rate how bitter and how sweet they think the chocolate tastes. Does it taste the same or different, depending on which piece of music they’re listening to? 

What You’ll Need
2 bite-size pieces bittersweet chocolate per person
1 pair headphones per person (Listening to the music in this activity through headphones helps keep out distractions.)

Learning Moment
Science (The Senses; Science Practices):
Before kids begin the experiment, ask them to make a prediction: Do they think the chocolate will taste the same or different, depending on what they’re hearing while they eat? Why do they think so?

“Food for Thought,” at the bottom of the experiment’s page, breaks down what happened in kid-friendly language. In a nutshell: Your perception of the flavor of food depends on so much more than what it tastes like in your mouth. Your other senses—sight, touch, smell, and, yes, hearing—influence flavor, too. Scientists have discovered that food can taste sweeter or more bitter depending on the type of music you hear while you’re eating. In general, “sweet” music has more high-pitched notes and “bitter” music contains more low-pitched notes. (Did you find that the chocolate tasted sweeter during song #1 and more bitter during song #2?) 

However, scientists don’t totally understand why the music changes your perception of food’s flavor. Theories range from the way the music vibrates in your body to the way different music can make you feel happy or sad. 


S'mores Rice Cereal TreatsHear the CrunchAvocado Toast with Fried Eggs
From left: S'mores Rice Cereal Treats, Hear the Crunch, Breakfast Tacos with Bacon

Thursday, May 7 — S’mores Rice Cereal Treats

These classic no-bake treats are easy for the youngest of chefs to make, and a great way to discover the different textures of food! Gooey, sticky melted marshmallows and crispy, crackly rice cereal combine into a treat everyone will love. Recipes for rice cereal treats usually call for melting the marshmallows and butter on the stovetop, but our kid-friendly method uses the microwave instead. The ingredients below are for S’mores Rice Cereal Treats, but check out the link below for how to make Nutella or Peanut Butter–Pretzel Rice Cereal Treats instead. Make sure to use regular-sized marshmallows for this recipe; mini marshmallows don’t melt as well.

What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
1 (10-ounce) package large marshmallows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 cups (5 ounces) crisped rice cereal
½ cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
3 whole graham crackers, broken into small pieces

Learning Moment
Science (States of Matter):
During last week’s Simple Syrup activity, we learned that matter is anything that takes up space, and that our whole world is made of matter. Matter can exist in three different states: a solid, a liquid, or a gas. But things can also change from one state to another! An example of that change happens in this recipe: solid marshmallows and butter change to a liquid mixture by adding heat in the microwave! This process is called melting

  • Ask kids if they can think of other examples of melting that they’ve seen, where something solid turns into something liquid. (Snow melting into water, ice cream melting in a bowl, etc.)
  • Can kids name the opposite of melting, when liquids turn into solids? (It’s freezing!)
  • If heat causes things to melt, can kids guess what is needed to freeze something? (Cold!)

Take It Further 
Social Studies (History):
Rice Krispies cereal, made by the Kellogg’s company, is one of the most popular types of cereal on supermarket shelves. Rice Krispies cereal was invented in 1927, but according to legend, Rice Krispies Treats weren’t invented until the 1930s when Mildred Day, a Kellogg’s employee and recipe tester, combined marshmallows and the puffed rice cereal. Originally called “marshmallow squares,” Kellogg’s printed the recipe for the new treat on its Rice Krispies cereal box for the first time in 1941. Families have been making and eating them ever since! Ask kids:

  • Imagine you are an inventor like Mildred Day. Can you imagine a new treat that uses breakfast cereal as an ingredient?
  • What type of cereal would they choose? What other ingredients would they use in their treat?
  • Have kids draw a picture of their treat and think of a name for it. How would they package their treat to sell?

If you’re feeling adventurous, let kids try to make a batch of their new treat and do a family taste test!


Friday, May 8 — Hear the Crunch

Earlier this week, kids discovered how what they hear while they eat can change their perception of food’s flavor. In this audio experiment, kids explore how the sound food makes while we eat affects what we think of the food’s texture. They’ll listen to audio recordings of someone eating two different kinds of potato chips. Based on what they hear, they’ll rate each chip on a scale of crispy to crunchy and then learn what scientists think about the differences between crispy and crunchy food. 

What You’ll Need
Pencil and paper (optional)

Learning Moment
Science (The Senses):
Before kids begin the experiment, ask them to share their prior knowledge:

  • What kinds of foods do they think are crispy? What kinds of foods do they think are crunchy? What do they think is the difference between a crispy food and a crunchy food?

After the experiment, tell kids that Chip #1 was a classic, thin potato chip and Chip #2 was a thicker, kettle-style potato chip. Explain that scientists have found that, in general, foods that people call crispy are thinner and make higher-pitched sounds when we eat them. Foods that people call crunchy tend to be thicker and make lower-pitched sounds when we eat them. Do kids’ observations line up with these findings? 

Take It Further:
Encourage kids to head to the pantry or refrigerator and look for some foods they think are crispy or crunchy. Take turns closing your eyes and listening to another person take a bite of these mystery foods (S’mores Rice Cereal Treats could be fun!). Would the listener rate each food as crispy or crunchy? Why?


Saturday & Sunday, May 9 - 10 — Avocado Toast with Fried Eggs

Sometimes, the simplest dishes are the most delicious. Crunchy toast, creamy avocado, and runny fried eggs make for a satisfying breakfast that kids can prepare for themselves—and to treat someone special for Mother’s Day! (Bonus points if they also pour a cup of coffee . . . )

What You’ll Need
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice, squeezed from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
1 ripe avocado
2 (½-inch-thick) slices crusty bread
2 large eggs

Learning Moment
Science (Plants):
What we consider fruits and vegetables while we cook often differs from how plant scientists would define fruits and vegetables. According to plant science, a fruit is the part of the plant that contains the seed or seeds. Vegetables are the other parts of the plant—the leaves, stems, roots, and even flowers—that we eat. This means that, technically, avocados are fruits, not vegetables! (The pit of an avocado is actually a seed!) Challenge your young chef to think of at least three other foods that they might normally think of as vegetables, but are actually fruits according to plant scientists. Here are some examples to guide you:

  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash (butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Okra

Take It Further 
Science (Plant Life Cycles):
Instead of throwing away the avocado pit when you make avocado toast, save it to sprout your own mini avocado tree! Follow the steps in
this helpful guide to learn how to do it.


The Young Chefs' Club

On sale until May 31, 2020, the June box of the Young Chefs’ Club is all about ICE CREAM! It includes recipes for ice cream and raspberry sorbet (no ice cream maker required!), classic toppings like Hot Fudge and Strawberry Sauce, and more. Kids can invent their own ice cream flavors, learn the science of making ice cream scoopable, and roll their own sundae combinations in a fun game.  
Learn More

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