ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom 2021: Week 2

Resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Jan. 8, 2021.

Welcome to week 2 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, 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, let kids take over making family breakfast with a batch of Banana-Oat Pancakes, an easy recipe for young chefs ages 5 and up from My First Cookbook. For a weekend project, kids and family members can make Peanut Butter Cups from scratch while answering some chocolate trivia questions, and during the week, kids can cook some Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese as a lunch or dinner for themselves, and create their dream dumplings in our Make It Your Way: Baked Dumplings Challenge.

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 January 11th through 17th, 2021.

From left: Banana-Oat Pancakes, Peanut Butter Cups

Kids Cook Breakfast: Banana-Oat Pancakes

Let kids take charge of family breakfast with these light and fluffy Banana-Oat Pancakes, perfect for young chefs ages 5 to 8 to make. As they prepare their ingredients, kids can practice sorting them into different groups based on their characteristics. You can serve the pancakes with extra sliced bananas, whipped cream, or maple syrup and gather around your table to enjoy a family conversation as you eat with some breakfast-related conversation starters.

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 
Sorting and Classifying (General Knowledge):
As kids gather their ingredients before they start cooking, ask them to sort the ingredients into different categories. Start by asking kids to sort the ingredients into two groups: solids and liquids. Remind kids that solids hold their own shape, no matter what container they’re in, and liquids take the shape of their container. As they sort, ask kids to explain their reasoning for why they are putting an ingredient in one group or another. (With these ingredients, the milk and vegetable oil are liquids, and all of the rest of the ingredients are solids.)

Ask kids: What are some other ways to sort these items? Allow kids to create their own categories. If kids get stuck, you can suggest that they sort the items by color (lightest to darkest), amount (greatest to least), texture (soft versus hard) and even storage (pantry versus refrigerator). 

Take It Further:
Language Arts (Speaking and Listening):
As you enjoy your pancakes together, use the prompts below to help foster conversation around your table. Topics can be serious, entertaining, or even make-believe. As kids and other family members answer the questions, help them think through their thoughts and feelings about their answers and what has been said by others. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. If you could invite a character from a book to have breakfast with us, who would it be? Why did you pick them? What do you think they would like to eat? 
  2. Did you think making these pancakes was easy, medium, or hard? Have you ever had trouble doing something at first? What was it? How did you learn to get better? 
  3. These pancakes have bananas in them, but what is your favorite fruit? Why? Do you think it would taste good in a pancake?

Weekend Project: Peanut Butter Cups

Kids (OK, the whole family) will have fun making and eating this do-it-yourself version of a beloved chocolate candy—peanut butter cups!—from our latest book, The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs. You can substitute semisweet chocolate for the milk chocolate if you want. Make sure to use milk chocolate in bar form, not chocolate chips. If you do not have a mini-muffin tin, you can use a regular 12‑cup muffin tin to make 12 larger peanut butter cups. While the layers of your Peanut Butter Cups chill in the refrigerator, play a round of “Chocolate Trivia” and see how much your young chefs know about this surprisingly ancient ingredient. 

What You’ll Need
12 ounces milk chocolate
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
⅛ teaspoon salt

Learning Moment 
Trivia (General Knowledge):
1. Cacao beans, the main ingredient in chocolate, come from a:
    A. Bush
    B. Tree
    C. Mine
    D. Lake

2. How many cacao beans does it take to make 1 pound of chocolate?
    A. 10
    B. 400
    C. 1,000
    D. 10,000

3. Which type of chocolate has the MOST cacao?
    A. Hot chocolate
    B. Milk chocolate
    C. White chocolate
    D. Dark chocolate

4. Thousands of years ago, the Aztecs used cacao beans for:
    A. Jewelry
    B. Building homes
    C. Money
    D. Games

5. White chocolate is made of:
    A. Cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids
    B. Cacao beans, sugar, and whole milk
    C. Dark chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder
    D. Milk chocolate, sugar, and milk solids

6. What chocolate treat did astronauts take into space in 1982?
    A. Hot chocolate mix
    B. M&M’s
    C. Chocolate bar with almonds
    D. Chocolate syrup

7. At what temperature does chocolate begin to melt?
    A. 32 degrees
    B. 90 degrees
    C. 150 degrees
    D. 212 degrees

8. In the year 2010, a world record was set for the largest ________ ever made.
    A. chocolate rabbit
    B. chocolate fountain
    C. chocolate chip cookie
    D. cup of hot chocolate

Answer Key: 1 (B); 2 (B); 3 (D); 4 (C); 5 (A); 6 (B); 7 (B); 8 (D)

From left: Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese, Make It Your Way Challenge: Baked Dumplings

Cooking for You: Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese

This simple pasta recipe makes an easy lunch or dinner for one, using just a handful of pantry-friendly ingredients. Kids can top their creamy, cheesy pasta with chopped cooked broccoli, shredded cooked chicken, crumbled cooked bacon, or chopped baby spinach or herbs. As they enjoy their meal, young chefs can learn more about different pasta shapes by taking our Endless “Pasta”-Bilities Quiz.

What You’ll Need
2 quarts water
4 ounces fettuccine or other long-strand pasta
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch pepper (optional)

Learning Moment
Social Studies (History & Culture):
Share with kids that noodles, including, pasta have been a staple of many cuisines for thousands of years. The first noodles were made in northern China more than 2,000 years ago and pasta has been made in the Mediterranean as far back as the 6th century. Ask kids how many pasta shapes they can name. Then, ask if they can guess how many Italian pasta shapes have been invented. (Answer: over 1,300!) As they enjoy their noodles, kids can learn more about pasta shapes and test their knowledge by taking our Endless “Pasta”-Bilities Quiz. If kids want to see how dried pasta is made in a factory, they can check out this video.

Kitchen STEAM Lab: Make It Your Way Challenge: Baked Dumplings

Dumplings of all different shapes and sizes are eaten around the world. They can be sweet or savory; fried, steamed, or baked; and filled with almost anything. In this Make It Your Way Challenge, young chefs will design and bake their dream dumpling: They’ll pick out the dough they want to start with (homemade or store-bought pie dough or empanada dough), the fillings they want to use (will they go savory or sweet?), and finally shape and bake their dumplings!

What You’ll Need
Pie dough (click here for our recipe or use store-bought) OR empanada dough (click here for our recipe or use store
Dumpling filling ingredients (for a full list of suggestions, see the activity)

Learning Moment 
Language Arts (Creative Writing) and Visual Art (Design):
After they create their dumplings, ask kids to imagine they are getting ready to sell them in the grocery store. Have kids draw packaging and a label for their dumplings, including whatever information they think is important. They might want to draw one picture of the front and another of the back of the package. Share photos or videos of kids’ work (and their dumplings) using the hashtag #atkkids on social media or by sending them to We might feature them in our newsletter or on Instagram. Use the following prompts to help guide kids as they create their designs:

  • What will you name your dumplings?
  • If you buy premade dumplings (or have seen them in the store), what do you notice about their packaging and labels?
  • What kind of label would you put on your dumpling 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 dumplings before they buy it? 
  • How will you entice customers to purchase YOUR dumplings instead of the others at the store?

On sale through January 31st, the February edition of the Young Chefs’ Club brings the delights of a diner breakfast into your home kitchen. This month’s diner-ific recipes include DIY Breakfast Sausage, Breakfast Sandwiches, and Lemon Buttermilk Flapjacks, inspired by the Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine. Kids can also discover how egg whites and egg yolks cook differently in a simple experiment, learn three ways to cook bacon, practice making fresh orange juice, and tackle this month’s Make It Your Way Challenge: Omelets! Finally, they’ll create their dream diner using our colorable, creative poster.   
Learn More

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