My youngest has taken an interest in cooking, largely due to the fact that we started watching Kids Baking Championship and Worst Cooks in America on Netflix last winter. He received a kids’ cookbook for Christmas and I wanted to feature it today because he has really enjoyed it (and the recipes he’s made have been GOOD!). The cookbook is called Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat), by Deanna F. Cook.
So far he has made Breakfast Sundaes (think fruit & yogurt parfaits with granola), Grab-and-Go Granola Bars (shown below), PB & Honey Packets (circular sandwiches with fork crimps around the edges), Think Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce, Nutty Noodles (Chinese noodles), Super Sliders (mini burgers), and three different kinds of salad dressings: Balsamic Vinaigrette, Lemon Parmesan, and Home on the Ranch. ALL of these have been “from scratch” type recipes — no mixes, and all fresh ingredients. Since he is only 7, he needed a little help with a few of the recipes, but there were several he could make all on his own (Breakfast Sundaes, PB & Honey Packets, and the salad dressings all required no hot surfaces, so he was good to go it alone).
Here’s what I love about this cookbook:
- All of the recipes include extras, like ingredient variations, as well as toppings and sauces that go with the main item.
- Throughout the book Cook has peppered fun, easy ideas for presentation like place cards and table setting ideas.
- All of the steps in each recipe show photos of what it looks like to do each task (and you see kids’ hands doing the cooking).
- Lots of great info on safety (heat, sharp objects, cleanliness, etc.) is covered.
- Each recipe includes a rating that indicates the difficulty level (1 spoon = recipes that don’t require a hot stove or a sharp knife, 2 spoons = recipes that involve some chopping; 3 spoons = recipes involving sharp knives and using the oven/stovetop). My son is mostly between the 1 and 2 spoon level on his own, but I help him with some of the 2’s and all of the 3-spoon recipes. The recipes in each section build in difficulty, starting with 1-spoon recipes and leading up to 3-spoon ones.
- A “Kitchen Vocabulary” section defines common cooking terms like beat, mince, grate, and simmer.
- There is a page on measurement equivalents and conversions.
- Clean-up has its own lesson, and it includes some ideas to make cleaning up more fun for the whole family.
Take a look at the great use of illustrative photos (this is the granola bars recipe shown below).
Here is the Grab-and-Go Granola bars recipe we made from the book (2-spoons).
Grab-and-Go Granola Bars from Deanna F. Cook’s book Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat)
Makes 12 bars
- 3 T butter, plus more for pan
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (Note: We used dark brown sugar in ours because that’s what we had; it was delicious!)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (Note: We used Old Fashioned Quaker Oats since that’s what we had on hand; they worked well and made the bars chewy and oat-ty.)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set it aside. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the oats into the pot. Stir very well for about 5 minutes.
- Spread the oat mixture into the pan. Press it into the pan with your hands to make it even (you may need to rub a little butter on your palms so they don’t stick to the bars). Press hard!
- Press the chocolate chips into the top of the bars. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (about 1 hour).
- Bring to room temperature, then ask an adult to help you cut into 12 bars with a sharp knife. Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or waxed paper.
- Decorate with personalized labels. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Easy-peasy, and so good! We didn’t actually individually wrap ours…too many people wanted to eat them as soon as they were sliced, so we just dove right in. We stored them on the countertop with plastic wrap over the pan.
All in all, I highly recommend this cookbook! My son is really enjoying it and it’s a great resource for kids who want to learn more about cooking.