ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 9

Week 9 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published May 8, 2020.

Welcome to week 9 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a daily schedule of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.  

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This week, we’re serving up Buttermilk Drop Biscuits for breakfast or a dinner side dish, streamlining breakfast by making Overnight Oatmeal (kids can choose their favorite flavor variation), unpacking the (delicious) science of melting cheese with a gooey science experiment, bringing a takeout classic home with Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry, snacking on Cheesy Zucchini Crisps, and unlocking kids’ creativity using Birthday Cupcakes, Vanilla Frosting, and their imagination. 

If you're looking to get your kids moving and active, our partners at BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success)—a free physical activity program designed to get kids active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness—have created BOKS at Home. Their site includes games, workouts, and mindfulness activities designed specifically for kids. 

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids 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 11th through May 17th.  

Buttermilk Drop BiscuitsFlavored ButersOvernight Oatmeal
From left: Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, Flavored Butters, Overnight Oatmeal

Monday, May 11 — Buttermilk Drop Biscuits and Flavored Butters

Fluffy, buttery biscuits make a great dinner side dish or breakfast base (we love them with some Scrambled Eggs). And this biscuit recipe is perfect for beginners—there’s no rolling or shaping required. Drop biscuits get their name because you scoop the batter with a measuring cup and drop it onto a rimmed baking sheet to form the biscuits. Kids can spread their biscuits with Flavored Butters for an extra pop of flavor.

What You’ll Need
For the Buttermilk Drop Biscuits:
2 cups all-­purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
Vegetable oil spray

For the Flavored Butters:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flavor ingredients (see Flavored Butters page)

Learning Moment
Math (Fractions; Addition or Multiplication):
In this recipe, kids use a ¼-cup dry measuring cup to scoop and drop their biscuit batter. While their biscuits bake, ask kids to use their math knowledge to calculate how much biscuit batter they started with, in cups. (You might want to review that there are four ¼ cups in 1 cup.)

The answer will be different depending on how much batter kids were able to scoop from the bowl, and how many biscuits they made (usually between 10 and 12). For 10 biscuits, the answer is 2½ cups batter. For 11 biscuits, the answer is 2¾ cups batter. For 12 biscuits, the answer is 3 cups batter.

Take It Further
Science (Chemistry):
Last week in Kitchen Classroom, kids learned about chemical leaveners—baking powder and baking soda—and how they create carbon dioxide gas, which makes baked goods rise. They also learned that baking soda needs to come in contact with an acid (buttermilk, in this recipe) in order to create carbon dioxide gas. Baking powder already contains baking soda and an acid, so it just needs some moisture to start working.

Try another simple science experiment to see these chemical leaveners in action:

  1. Pour ¼ cup milk in one glass and ¼ cup buttermilk in a second glass.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to each glass.
  3. Stir gently with a spoon and observe what happens.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with baking powder instead of baking soda.

Kids likely saw lots of bubbles in the glass with buttermilk and baking soda, but no bubbles in the glass with milk and baking soda. That’s because buttermilk is acidic, so it reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas. When kids added baking powder to the milk and buttermilk, both glasses produced bubbles of carbon dioxide gas—that’s because baking powder only needs moisture in order to activate.


Tuesday, May 12 — Overnight Oatmeal

Just 10 minutes of work the night before sets kids up for a filling breakfast the next morning, thanks to this simple Overnight Oatmeal recipe. Try the blueberry-almond version below, or try one of the other flavor variations: bananas and brown sugar, toasted coconut, or raisins and brown sugar

What You’ll Need
3 cups plus 1 cup water, measured separately
1 cup steel-cut oats
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup blueberries
½ cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons almond butter

Learning Moment
Science (Biology):
Oats are a kitchen staple—you’ll find them in cookies, granola, Energy Bites, and, of course, oatmeal. Ask kids where they think oats come from?

Explain that oats come from plants. Oat plants, a kind of grass with starchy seeds, can grow to be about five feet tall. The oats that we eat are part of the seeds of the oat plant. The oat seeds have a hull, or an outer shell. When the hull is removed, what’s inside is called the groat. Manufacturers use machines to process the groats in different ways, which turn into the different types of oats, such as steel-cut oats (used in this recipe), stone-ground oats, old-fashioned oats, rolled oats, and instant oats.

Have kids gather whatever oats you have in the pantry and observe them up close (use a magnifying glass if you have one). Ask kids to describe what each variety looks like up-close and how they are similar or different. Do they have any guesses about how each type of oats is made?

  • Steel-Cut Oats: Groats are sliced into three or four pieces using steel blades, hence the name. They have a coarse, chunky texture.
  • Old-Fashioned or Rolled Oats: Groats are steamed and then rolled flat by metal rollers, which gives them their flat, oval shape.
  • Quick Oats: Steel-cut oats are first steamed and then rolled flat by metal rollers until they’re even thinner than old-fashioned oats.
  • Instant Oats: Groats are first cut into very, very small pieces. Then they’re cooked and rolled flat before they’re dried.


The Gooey Science of Melting CheeseBeef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
From left: The Gooey Science of Melting Cheese, Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Wednesday, May 13 — The Gooey Science of Melting Cheese

This tasty science experiment answers the question of why some cheeses melt so much better than others. Kids sprinkle three types of cheese over pieces of tortilla before baking them and observing which melt into smooth, gooey deliciousness—and which don’t. You can swap the tortilla for small slices of bread, or pieces of naan or lavash. Use block mozzarella in this experiment, not fresh mozzarella. You can use preshredded cheese in a pinch, but avoid finely grated Parmesan cheese from a can. 

What You’ll Need
1 (10- to 12-inch) flour tortilla
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Learning Moment
Science (Chemistry; Science Practices):
When kids make a prediction about how the three cheeses will melt, ask them to also explain the rationale behind their thinking. They’ll also have a chance to make observations and analyze their results. Practice asking kids open-ended questions as they observe and analyze the three types of cheese, such as: “What do you notice about the different cheeses?”; “What would you tell one of your classmates (or your teacher) about this experiment?”; and “How do your results compare to the prediction you made when you started the experiment?”

At the bottom of the experiment page, under “Food for Thought,” you’ll find a kid-friendly explanation of how cheese melts and why young cheeses, like mozzarella, melt so much better than aged cheeses, such as sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese.


Thursday, May 14 — Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Make a takeout classic at home!. This recipe borrows a technique called “velveting” from Chinese restaurants. Coating the beef with a mixture that includes cornstarch helps keep the meat juicy and tender and also makes the sauce thick and glossy. Serve this stir-fry with white or brown rice. 

What You’ll Need
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup water, measured separately
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 pound flank steak
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Learning Moment
Math (Geometry):
In step 2 of this recipe, kids prepare the flank steak by first cutting it into strips with the grain of the meat and then into thin slices across the grain. Use this opportunity to review the geometry terms parallel and perpendicular. Parallel lines are always the same distance apart and will never intersect or cross. Perpendicular lines meet at right angles to one another. While the lines in flank steak will never be perfectly parallel or perpendicular, when kids are cutting with the grain, they are cutting parallel to the lines in the steak. When kids are cutting across the grain, they are cutting perpendicular to the lines in the steak.


Cheesy Zucchini CrispsBirthday Cupcakes
From left: Cheesy Zucchini Crisps, Birthday Cupcakes

Friday, May 15 — Cheesy Zucchini Crisps

Meet your Friday (or any day) afternoon snack: Cheesy Zucchini Crisps. They’re great plain or with a scoop of creamy yogurt dip, and they’re designed with the youngest chefs in mind. This recipe comes from our cookbook for kids ages 5 to 8, My First Cookbook. The secret to crispy crisps?  Giving the shredded zucchini—which is more than 90 percent water—a good squeeze before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. 

What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
1 small zucchini (6 ounces)
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese (1 ounce)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon salt

Learning Moment
Math (Measurement):
This recipe calls for squeezing as much water as possible out of the shredded zucchini. Removing that water prevents the crisps from getting soggy, so they’ll live up to their name. In step 3 of the recipe, before squeezing the shredded zucchini, ask kids to predict how much water they think will come out. Instead of squeezing the zucchini over the sink, work over a bowl. Then, help kids pour the squeezed-out liquid from the bowl into a liquid measuring cup. Ask kids to read the liquid measuring cup to find out exactly how much liquid was squeezed out of the zucchini. How close were kids’ predictions?

Take It Further 
Science (States of Matter):
Ask kids what they notice about the cheese in the Zucchini Crisps. Is it melty? Gooey? Crispy? Greasy? Crunchy? Remind kids of The Gooey Science of Melting Cheese, the experiment they conducted earlier this week and that not all cheeses melt in the same way—some cheeses melt smoothly, some become greasy and grainy, and some don’t melt at all! How well did the cheddar cheese melt in the Zucchini Crisps? What other types of cheese do they think would be good at melting in this recipe? 


Saturday & Sunday, May 16 - 17 — Birthday Cupcakes and Vanilla Frosting

Whether or not it’s someone’s birthday, there’s always a reason to celebrate! These cupcakes and vanilla frosting are a perfect blank canvas for decorating. Easy-to-follow tutorials show kids how to make Sparkly, Smooth, Shaggy, Rosy, or Swirly cupcakes with step by step tutorials, and can learn about colors by adding food coloring to white frosting to turn it into different shades.

What You’ll Need
For the cupcakes:
1¾ cups all-­purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
3 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces and softened
¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups (16 ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

For decorating:

Learning Moment
Visual Art (Color):
If you have food coloring on hand, kids can turn the white vanilla frosting in this recipe into different colors. Divide the frosting into different bowls, and experiment with adding drops of food coloring to each one and mixing it in to create different colors. Ask kids if they can name the three primary colors: Yellow, Red, and Blue. These colors cannot be made from other colors. Secondary colors are made by mixing two primary colors together. Ask kids if they know (or can figure out by experimenting with food coloring!) what secondary colors they can make from different combinations of the primary colors:

  • Yellow + Red = Orange
  • Red + Blue = Purple
  • Blue + Yellow = Green

For a fun explanation of primary and secondary colors, check out this video!

Take It Further 
Visual Art (Color): 
Artists use what is called the color wheel to organize and think about how colors relate to each other. It places all of the colors in rainbow order in a circle shape.


The color wheel places the three primary colors (yellow, red, and blue) in the circle evenly spaced from each other. The secondary colors (orange, purple, and green) are in between them, and the tertiary colors are in between those. Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary and secondary color together to make yellow-orange, orange-red, red-purple, purple-blue, blue-green, and green-yellow.

The colors on the right side of the wheel (between yellow and purple going clockwise) are called warm colors, and the colors on the left side (between purple and yellow) are called cool colors. Artists can find colors that look good together by putting them into warm or cool groups, or by picking contrasting colors from opposite sides of the wheel. This fun video shows how the color wheel works! (Fun fact: The color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666—the same Sir Isaac Newton who discovered the laws of gravity!)

Challenge kids to create their own color wheel using objects they find around the house. Can they find all of the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors and put them in order? Check out the hashtag #colorwheelchallenge on social media (with a grown-up’s permission) to see how other creative people are making their own color wheels at home, and consider posting a picture of your own!


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.  
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