Welcome to week 36 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a Learning Moment that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
In this week’s Kitchen Classroom, kids are headed to the Kitchen STEAM lab! In this week’s activity, kids will find out if browned butter tastes different from melted butter in Building a Better Butter, an experiment from our latest cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists. They’ll start by preparing the two butter samples and will then participate in a blind taste test (alongside any family members that want to join). In the Learning Moment, kids will learn why it’s so important to wear blindfolds in this experiment—and countless other taste tests. After completing their taste test, kids can use the remaining butter to make a browned butter sauce that they can drizzle over all sorts of dishes (see Take It Further).
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of September 6th through 12th, 2021.
Kitchen STEAM Lab: Building a Better Butter
Young food scientists will organize a blind taste test of two butter samples—melted butter and browned butter—to determine if browning changes the flavor of butter. Use a regular, heavy-bottomed skillet in this experiment, because the dark color of nonstick skillets makes it hard to see when the butter is browned. This activity works best if kids have a partner or a small group of friends or family to work with.
[GET THE ACTIVITY]
What You’ll Need
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into eight 1-tablespoon pieces
1 slice per taster white sandwich bread, cut in half
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
Engineering & Design (Executing Fair Tests):
In this experiment, kids will prepare and taste two samples of butter (dipped in bread) with blindfolds on. Kids may wonder why a blindfold is necessary for this experiment. You can start by asking kids: Why do you think you’ve been asked to wear a blindfold in this activity? Then, explain to kids why blind testing is such an important part of conducting fair taste tests: A food’s appearance can affect how we think it tastes. Blindfolding taste testers eliminates any bias, or assumed ideas about a food or product. For example, if you were to sample a red drink, you may assume that it tastes like cherry before even taking a sip. (You can explore this concept further in The Many Shades of Flavor experiment.) And if you weren’t blindfolded in this particular taste test, you may suspect that each butter tastes a certain way before you even take a bite!
Many companies around the world conduct blind tastings to test out and improve their products, from beverage companies to plant-based meat brands. Ask kids: Can you think of other times when it would be important to conduct a blind taste test? What visual factors can affect what we think about a food or product?
Take It Further
After conducting the experiment, kids can use the remaining butter to make a lemony, herby browned butter sauce, which can be found in the Eat Your Experiment! section on the last slide of Food for Thought. While we suggest drizzling it over Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, it would be delicious spooned over all sorts of foods, from other proteins to side dishes and beyond. Try pairing it with seafood, such as fish fillets or shrimp. Or, you could stir it into mashed potatoes or pour it over steamed veggies, such as cauliflower, green beans, or squash. Toss it with pasta—anything from spaghetti to ravioli would make for a delightful duo! What if you swapped the melted butter in this popcorn recipe with a tablespoon of your sauce for a true taste-bud explosion? Ask kids: What else would you pair your browned butter sauce with?