ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 30

Week 30 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Oct. 2, 2020.

Welcome to week 30 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly list 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, kids can make a Gingery Carrot Soup for lunch and get to know one of its star ingredients, explore the science behind how raisins are made as they bake a loaf of Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread, spiff up their seasoning skills in a Make It Your Way Challenge all about salt, and observe the power of steam while making Fried Eggs for breakfast.

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 October 5th through October 11th.

From left: Gingery Carrot Soup, Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

Gingery Carrot Soup

What better way to hop into fall cooking than with soup? This flavorful recipe is sweet, creamy, and just a little bit spicy. Kids can customize their bowls by topping them with a swirl of yogurt, a pinch of minced herbs, or a sprinkle of croutons. Then, they can learn all about one of the key ingredients in this recipe in a gingery taste test. 

What You’ll Need
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1⅓ cups chicken or vegetable broth
⅓ cup milk

Learning Moment
Life Science (Plants)
Ginger brings a big pop of flavor to this soup. Tell kids that few spices are used in as many different ways as ginger. It can be added to savory stews and stir-fries, and it’s the signature flavor in sweet gingerbread or gingersnap cookies. Ginger can even be enjoyed on its own as chewy dried ginger candy and pickled ginger. Ask kids:

  • Where do you think ginger comes from? 
  • Where do you think it grows? 
  • What part of the plant do you think it is? 
  • How would you describe how ginger tastes?

Explain to kids that ginger is a rhizome (“RYE-zome”). A rhizome is an underground stem of a plant that has roots and shoots that grow out of it. Turmeric and galangal are two other rhizomes that people eat. Ginger plants grow in warm, tropical climates. India grows the most ginger in the world, though most of the fresh ginger sold in the United States comes from Hawaii. Many people describe ginger’s flavor as “spicy.” There’s a good reason for that: A chemical called gingerol gives fresh ginger its kick. It triggers the same receptors in the mouth that hot chile peppers do, though not quite as strongly. 

When preparing the ingredients for the soup, have kids save a small piece of fresh ginger. Have them smell it and taste it. If you have powdered or dried ginger in your spice cabinet, have kids smell and taste a tiny amount of that as well. Ask kids:

  • What do you notice?
  • How would you describe the taste and smell of each type of ginger?
  • Does the fresh ginger taste different from the powdered ginger? 
  • Does one have a stronger smell than the other? 

Kids might notice that the dried ginger tastes spicier or “hotter” than the fresh ginger. When ginger is dried, its gingerol turns into another compound called shogaol, which is stronger and gives dried ginger a spicier kick.

As kids are eating their finished soup, ask them: Can you taste the ginger in this soup? How does it compare to tasting the ginger by itself?

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

This sweet bread, swirled with cinnamon-sugar and studded with raisins, relies on the power of baking soda and buttermilk for its tall stature and fluffy texture. Enjoy a slice with a smear of butter as a snack or as part of your breakfast on a chilly fall day. 

What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (2⅔ ounces) plus 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, measured separately
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (12 ounces) buttermilk
⅓ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ cup raisins

Learning Moment
Life Science (Plants):
Before you start this recipe, set aside a few raisins for a simple science activity. Ask kids what they already know about raisins. Do they have any idea where raisins come from?

Explain that raisins are just dehydrated—or dried—grapes. As the grapes dry, a lot of the water inside them evaporates, giving the raisins their shriveled look. More common purple-black raisins and yellow golden raisins come from the exact same fruit: green Thompson seedless (also called sultana) grapes. To make purple-black raisins, the grapes are dried in the sun for several weeks, and over that time color darkens. Golden raisins are dried using machines and treated with a harmless chemical called sulfur dioxide, which preserves their greenish-yellow color. (Check out this video to learn more about how raisins are made.)

While their bread bakes, have kids fill a clear drinking glass with a few inches of water. Add the reserved raisins. Ask kids to make a prediction: What do they think will happen to the raisins if they’re left in the water for a few hours? Set the glass aside in a place where it won’t be disturbed.

After at least 4 hours (or overnight) have kids observe what their raisins look like. What do they notice? What do they think happened? 

Explain that, as they sat in the water, the raisins became plumper and rounder again (though not as round and plump as grapes). Encourage kids to use a butter knife to cut one raisin in half and see if there’s water on the inside (there should be!). Explain to kids that the skin of the raisin has very tiny holes in it. That means that other tiny molecules, like water, can pass through it.

When they put the raisin in the glass, the raisin contained less water than its surroundings. The tiny water molecules naturally moved from where there are more of them (the glass) to where there are less of them (inside the raisin). Scientists call this process osmosis (“oz-MOE-sis”).

From left: Make It Your Way Challenge: Get Salty, Fried Eggs

Make It Your Way Challenge: Get Salty

Salt is an amazing ingredient. It has its own taste, but it also amps up the flavor of whatever food it’s sprinkled on. In this Make It Your Way Challenge, kids can discover what foods taste better with salt. They can use different salty sources, such as kosher salt, coarse or flake sea salt, or soy sauce to aid their exploration.

What You’ll Need
Salt and/or salty condiments, such as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce
Different foods to add salt to (for a list of suggestions, see the activity page) 

Learning Moment
Physical Science (Motion and Gravity):
Challenge kids to explore your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, or garden and gather foods that they think might taste better with some salt. Look for some savory foods and some sweet ones. Have  kids take a bite or sip without salt. Then, taste again after you add some salt. How does the flavor change? What was the strangest thing kids found that they think tastes better with salt?After tasting, tell kids that when you season with salt, it’s important to sprinkle the salt from high above your food, rather than hovering just above it. That’s because seasoning from up high helps the salt to spread out more evenly over the food. 

To test this out for themselves, tell kids to line two baking sheets with black construction paper. Tell kids to sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt over one baking sheet, holding their hand just a few inches above the paper. Then, sprinkle another teaspoon of salt over the second baking sheet, this time holding their hand about 12 inches above the paper. What differences do they observe? They should see that the salt on the first baking sheet has formed one small pile, while the salt on the second baking sheet is scattered evenly on the black construction paper. They can learn more about how to season properly (and safely!) here.

If your young chef would like to take this activity one step further, use a white crayon or white colored pencil to draw a grid on the black construction paper. After salting low on the first baking sheet and high on the second, count how many squares have salt in them on each sheet and compare. Did the salt reach more or fewer squares when sprinkled from up high? What about from down low?

Fried Eggs

With a solid white and a runny yolk, these fried eggs are delicious on their own or served over toast or a toasted English muffin. This recipe serves 1 to 2 people, so kids can make breakfast for themselves or share with a family member, or they can make two batches back-to-back to serve a larger group for family breakfast.

What You’ll Need
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper

Learning Moment
Physical Science (States of Matter):
As you gather the equipment for this recipe, ask kids: Why do you think we need a lid for the skillet in this recipe? What do you think the lid will be doing as the eggs cook in steps 4 and 5? Tell kids that the lid traps steam inside the skillet as the eggs heat up. Ask kids: Have you heard of steam before? What do you think it is?

Explain to kids that steam is water in its gas state. When water is very cold, at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a solid (ice). When it is above freezing, it is a liquid (water). And when it heats up above 212 Fahrenheit, it boils and turns into a gas (steam). The eggs in this recipe have water inside them. When the heat is turned on under the skillet, that water gets hotter and hotter. The bottoms of each egg are in contact with the hot surface of the pan, so they cook quickly. By covering the skillet with a lid, the steam from the cooking eggs gets trapped, and reflects down to the tops of the eggs, helping them cook at the same rate as the bottoms.

To see this in action, have kids make the recipe once as written using the lid for the skillet, and then repeat with 1 or 2 eggs without using the lid. What did they notice was different about how the eggs cooked without the lid? Did it take longer for the egg whites to turn from clear to white? Which method did they prefer?

Take It Further 
Life Science (Animals):
Ask kids: Did you know that egg shells come in many different colors? What color eggs have you seen before? Do you know what animal the eggs we usually cook with come from?

Tell kids that the eggs we cook with usually come from chickens (though you can also eat the eggs of other birds like ducks, turkeys, quail, or even ostriches!). The color of a chicken egg is determined by what kind, or breed, of chicken laid it. Just like how the color of people's skin can be different, egg shells can have different colors, too. For example, Araucana chickens lay blue eggs, White Leghorn chickens lay white eggs, and Black Copper Maran chickens lay brown eggs. Most of the eggs you find at the grocery store are either white or brown. That’s because lots of grocery stores carry cartons of eggs that come from big farms that raise many of the same breed of chicken, so they all lay the same color of egg. To visit a family farm raising many different kinds of chickens and to see the different colors of eggs their chickens lay, check out this video.

On sale through October 31, 2020, explore the wide world of spices in the November edition of the Young Chefs’ Club. Use spices—a couple of which are included in the box—in a range of different dishes that are filled with flavor (but no spicy heat!), from Spice-Roasted Carrots to Chicken Fajitas to Chana Masala and even sweet Spice Cake. Explore the scented science of spices in a hands-on experiment. And make spiced popcorn YOUR way with our Make It Your Way Challenge!  
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