Welcome to Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly set of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities, each paired with a suggestion for bringing learning to life in the kitchen.
This week, kids can make a show-stopping Free-Form Summer Fruit Tart from seasonal stone fruit and berries, learn all about chickpeas while making a pair of Crispy Veggie Burgers for lunch or dinner, get creative in a Make It Your Way Beverage Challenge, and practice real-world mathematics while baking up a batch of Granola Bars to enjoy as a snack all week (or weekend) long.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to email@example.com. 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 August 31st through September 6th.
Free-Form Summer Fruit Tart
This tart is a great way for kids to show off ripe summer fruit in a wow-worthy dessert. You don’t have to stick to peaches and blackberries–you can use whatever combination of stone fruit and berries you can find at the grocery store or farmers’ market. Try swapping in plums, nectarines, or apricots for the peaches, or blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries for the blackberries. You can also use 14 ounces of frozen sliced peaches, thawed and patted dry with paper towels, if you like. Because ripe fruit is so juicy, we don’t recommend using store-bought pie dough for this recipe, as it’s too thin and delicate to hold the filling.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1 recipe Pie Dough (click here for our recipe)
Vegetable oil spray
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces) plus 1 tablespoon sugar, measured separately
1 pound peaches, pitted and cut into ½ inch wedges
1 cup (5 ounces) blackberries
All-purpose flour (for sprinkling on counter)
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) water
This recipe relies on a special ingredient to help prevent a leaky dessert: cornstarch. When preparing their ingredients before cooking, ask kids whether they have ever used cornstarch before, and if so, when. Have kids make some observations of the cornstarch: What does it look like, smell like, or feel like? Do they have any guesses about why there is cornstarch in this recipe?
Explain to kids that this tart, also called a galette, uses ripe summery fruit for its filling. But all of that fruit also contains a lot of juice, which can make a tart runny and soggy instead of sliceable. Cornstarch is an ingredient that causes liquids to thicken when they’re heated up. When the cornstarch in this recipe combines with the juices from the fruit filling and heats in the oven as the tart bakes, the cornstarch-juice mixture turns into a gel. A gel is a thick, jellylike substance. As the tart cools after baking, the gel gets even thicker, making the tart easy to slice into neat wedges.
- To see this in action, have kids try a simple activity while their tart bakes in step 7. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of fruit juice or water.
- Explain to kids that this is like the cornstarch and fruit juices combining in their tart. Have kids observe what the mixture looks like, and what its texture is like.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and heat until the mixture is bubbling, about 30 seconds.
- Have kids use oven mitts to carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, and allow it to cool slightly.
- Ask kids to observe the mixture again, and try stirring it with a spoon. What do they notice has changed? (Kids should observe that the mixture is translucent and its texture is thicker and stickier than it was before heating in the microwave.)
- Explain to kids that after heating up in the microwave, this mixture has now turned into a gel. The gel will continue to thicken as the mixture cools. Have kids observe the tart as it comes out of the oven in step 8, and again after it cools, to see if they can observe the juices forming a gel in the same way.
Crispy Veggie Burgers
Chickpeas form the base of these easy-to-make veggie burger patties flavored with curry powder, Greek yogurt, and scallions. Kids will investigate chickpeas up close and learn all about how they grow.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, measured separately
½ teaspoon curry powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
3 scallions, sliced thin
2 leaves lettuce
2 hamburger buns
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are the star of these veggie patties, but what are chickpeas? Where do they come from? Ask kids these questions to find out what they already know about chickpeas. Then, explain that chickpeas are part of the legume family. Legume plants produce edible seeds called pulses. Some pulses that we eat are beans and peas. Like most beans and peas, chickpeas grow inside a pod. Chickpeas are made up of three main parts: a tiny embryo that can grow to become a new chickpea plant; the seed coat, which is a thin coating around the outside of the seed itself; and the cotyledon, which includes food for the embryo and makes up the bulk of the chickpea. When kids are preparing their ingredients before cooking, set a few drained chickpeas aside. Have kids carefully cut the chickpeas in half and ask them to make observations (this is a great place to use a magnifying glass, if you have one). Can they find any embryos inside, which look like tiny plants? Can they pull off the chickpeas’ skins, which are the seed coats?
Explain to kids that there are two main types of chickpeas, Desi, which are small and dark in color, with yellow interiors, and Kabuli, which are what you usually find at grocery stores in the United States and are beige-colored with a thin skin.
Make It Your Way Challenge: Beverages
There’s something wonderful about sipping a cool, refreshing drink on a hot day or cozying up with a warm mug on a chilly afternoon. And the world of beverages is wide—it’s got everything from creamy milkshakes and smoothies to sweet agua fresca and iced tea to tart lemonade. Challenge kids to invent their own beverage—it can be hot or cold; milk-, water-, or juice-based; garnished with fruit, spices, even a scoop of ice cream!
[GET THE ACTIVITY]
What You’ll Need
Use ingredients you have on hand in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, or have your young chef put together a special shopping list for your next trip to the grocery store.
Language Arts (Creative Writing)
After they create their beverages, ask kids to imagine they are getting ready to sell their beverage in the grocery store. Challenge them to design the packaging for their beverage creations, using the following prompts:
- What will you name your beverage?
- What container would you use for your beverage? A bottle? A can? Another container?
- Look at other beverages around our house (or the store)—what do you notice about their packaging and labels?
- What kind of label would you put on the package? What will it look like?
- What information will you put on the label? What do you think your customers will need to know about your beverage before they buy it?
- How will you entice customers to purchase YOUR beverage?
Have kids draw their beverage package and label, including whatever information they plan to include. If you have empty plastic bottles, jars, or containers, kids can turn them into three-dimensional models for their beverage packages. Share photos or videos of kids’ beverage creations using the hashtag #atkkids on social media or by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We might feature them in our newsletter or on Instagram.
Granola bars are a great on-the-go snack. Oats, nuts, and seeds help make the bars filling, and dried cherries (plus some light brown sugar) add a little sweetness. This recipe makes 16 bars, so there are plenty to share with the whole family.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
½ cup plus 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats, measured separately
½ cup pecans
½ cup packed light brown sugar
3 large egg whites
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup raw pepitas
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Math (Division, Fractions)
In step 7, kids cut the bars out of a larger rectangle. Challenge your young chef to answer the word problems below while the bars bake in step 8. They might want to use a pencil and paper to sketch out how they will divide the tray of granola bars into 16 equal portions, and use it to help them with the word problems.
- You and your younger brother both really like the granola bars, and each of you eats 1 granola bar a day. How many days in a row can you each eat 1 granola bar before you run out? (Answer: 8 days)
- Now imagine that two more family members also want to eat 1 granola bar a day. If 4 people each eat one granola bar a day, how many days in a row can everyone eat 1 granola bar before you run out? (Answer: 4 days)
- Imagine you gave away 3 granola bars to your friend, 4 to your grandma, 4 to your uncle, and 2 to your neighbor. How many granola bars do you have left over for yourself? (Answer: 3 granola bars)
- If you have a full batch of 16 granola bars, how many is half a batch of granola bars? How many is one quarter of a batch of granola bars? (Answers: 8; 4)
Catching up on Kitchen Classroom? Find previous weeks using the links below:
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 24
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 23
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 22
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 21
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 20
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 19
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 18
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 17
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 16
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 15
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 14
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 13
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 12
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 11
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 10
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 9
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 8
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 7
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 6
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 5
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 4
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 3
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 2
- Kitchen Classroom: Week 1