Posts Tagged ‘cooking with kids’

Baked Maple Doughnuts {Crown Maple Review}

Friday, February 7th, 2014

There’s nothing like a snow day to get one craving something sweet, and making baked doughnuts lets me feel like it’s a slightly healthier choice than the fried versions. Even if I top it with a rich maple glaze. I hadn’t realized that maple bars were a West Coast thing until reading about an article about them a couple years ago. I can’t recall eating many doughnuts as a child, but realizing that something isn’t available where you now live has a way of spurring a sudden sense of nostalgia. Of course you can get maple doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts, but I’m not a fan of that chemical aftertaste that artificial maple extract imparts. So it’s safer to make my own maple glazed doughnuts at home. As I’ve said before, baked doughnuts are really just muffins in the shape of a doughnut, but the glaze transforms them into a special occasion treat.

Maple Doughnuts | FoodieTots.com

We were recently sent some maple syrups and maple sugar from Crown Maple, and I was eager to try out the maple sugar in some baked goods. Unlike the maple sugar crystals I’ve used before, Crown maple sugar is very fine in texture and gives the baked doughnuts just a subtle maple flavor while baking up light and moist with a great crumb. Just take a peek inside.

Baked Maple Dougnuts with Maple Glaze | FoodieTots

Recipe: Baked Maple Doughnuts with Pure Maple Glaze

Adapted from Shutterbean
Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the maple glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure maple extract*
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk

*Note: If you don’t have maple extract, use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. It won’t have as rich a maple flavor, but will still be delicious.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and maple sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into a plastic sandwich bag. Snip off a corner and pipe batter into doughnut pan.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until top bounces back when poked. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.
  7. While doughnuts are cooling, whisk together the glaze ingredients using just enough milk to make it smooth but not so much that it’s runny. I made it slightly thinner and dipped the doughnuts in it, but you risk getting crumbs in the glaze that way. I’d recommend keeping it just thin enough to drizzle with a fork and drizzling it over the doughnuts.

Crown Maple Sugar Review | FoodieTots

About Crown Maple Syrup: Crown Maple Syrup is certified organic syrup produced from 25,000 sugar and red maple trees on an 800-acre sustainably-managed estate in New York’s Hudson River Valley. They use a unique reverse osmosis system to remove 90% of water from the sap before the evaporation process, resulting in an extraordinarily pure syrup. The syrups, available in light, medium, dark and extra dark amber, are pure and delicious drizzled on pancakes and waffles; I also like to use them in vinaigrette over salad and even in cocktails. You can visit Madava Farms, home of Crown Maple, on the weekends for a tour and tasting — and March is the peak tapping season to see it in action.

Disclosure: We received product from Crown Maple for review purposes; no other compensation was received and as always, all opinions are our own.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Kids Cook Monday}

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I know, here we are on the cusp of holiday baking season — the arrival of Gourmet’s annual cookie issue was better than Christmas to many a food blogger — and here I am with plain old chocolate chip cookies. But before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, why not enjoy a simple pleasure. A recipe simple enough to make with the kids, an easy after-school treat for a rainy Monday, or, in my case, a quick way to assuage a mama’s guilt after a weekend away.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies can be a polarizing matter — do you like yours crispy or chewy? I add oatmeal, which makes them healthy (it does, right?) and lends the perfect crisp-chewy texture, in my opinion. Like many recipes, it is based off the back of the chocolate chip package. Aside from the addition of oatmeal, I also double the salt and add almond extract with the vanilla. (I can’t take credit for that either — it’s a tip gleaned from Giada.) I’ve been known to use a mix of raisins or cranberries, or even coconut, with the chocolate chips, but I’ll leave those choices up to you.

Recipe: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Ghiradelli’s baking chip package

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces chocolate baking chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and almond extracts, continuing to mix on low speed until well combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually add oats until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and drop dough by tablespoon onto pans. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until centers are dry and edges are lightly golden. Remove to cooling rack and try to hold back little hands at least until the cookies are no longer piping hot.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your scoops.

FoodieTots Review: The Whole Family Cookbook (and giveaway)

Monday, April 18th, 2011

If there’s such a thing as a family food superhero, my friend Michelle Stern surely is one. Founder of a certified-green cooking school in the San Francisco Bay area and author of the What’s Cooking with Kids blog, Michelle was invited to the White House for the launch of Chefs Move to the Schools and is leading the charge for school lunch changes in her own school district. Somehow she also found time to write The Whole Family Cookbook — a hands-on guide to getting kids into the kitchen. Her no-fuss recipes have a color-coded guide to which steps are appropriate for different age groups, and special green boxes geared to kids provide interesting facts and explanations about ingredients and sustainable eating. (And answer the question, how do those seedless watermelons reproduce, anyway?) A seasonal recipe index is a nice starting point if you’re looking for ideas for what to do with this week’s CSA or market haul. My favorite part about this book is that its recipes are simple, real food — not overly cutesy or filled with sugar. Michelle shares my philosophy that kids can get excited about healthy food, too — really!

We made the A-B-C Frittata (recipe reprinted below). He’s been very excited about learning his letters at preschool, so it was a natural choice. (For extra fun, ask your kids to think of other A-B-C combinations … like avocado, banana and coconut!) It was the boy’s first time using the box grater — grating cheese is my least favorite cooking task, so I think I may need to invest in one of the circular graters Michelle mentions in the book so he can more easily do it on his own. He also peeled the apples and cracked eggs. I made a few adjustments to the recipe, noted below, but it is definitely one we’ll be making again. The boy loves quiche, and frittatas are a little faster to put together (no crust) — also Passover-friendly for those of you observing this week, though of course you’ll want to omit the bacon if you keep kosher.

foodie tot cooks frittata

Read on for the recipe. If you’d like to win your own free copy of The Whole Family Cookbook, comment below with your kids’ favorite way to eat eggs. For an extra entry, “like” FoodieTots on Facebook and leave an additional comment here letting me know you have (or already do). Entries will be accepted until midnight (Eastern time) Thursday, April 21. Update: Congratulations to Miriam, the lucky commenter as per the random number generator. Thanks all for your comments and for joining us on Facebook!

(Can’t wait? Buy The Whole Family Cookbook on Amazon or at your local bookstore.)

Recipe: A-B-C (Apple Bacon Cheddar) Frittata
from The Whole Family Cookbook, reprinted with permission

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites**
  • 8 whole eggs**
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 slices bacon
  • Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 2 apples, Fuji or Gala
  • 1 Tablespoon butter**

Instructions:

Put the rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.

Crack the eggs, one at a time, over a small bowl. After checking for stray shells, pour each egg into a medium bowl. To separate the egg whites, crack the egg over an egg separator or someone’s clean hands. Carefully let the egg white slip through the fingers into the bowl, with the yolk remaining. Discard the yolk or save for another recipe. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are thoroughly combined.

Grate the cheese. Younger children can help you use a rotary cheese grater (which protects their skin). Older children can use a box grater. Add half of the grated cheese to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to your liking.

Cook the strips of bacon. You can fry them in a skillet (watch out! They can splatter.) Or, you can bake them in the oven on a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. We like this method because we don’t have to turn the bacon over and the kids stay safe.

Once the bacon cools, crumble the strips with clean hands. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the apple. If you have an apple corer, you may use it. Or, simply cut up the apple, leaving the core behind. Slice the apple pieces very thinly. As you are cutting, be sure to put the flat side of the apple pieces down, so the chunks don’t wobble on your cutting board.

In a medium cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.** Add egg mixture to the skillet. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles evenly over the eggs. Gently arrange the apples on top of the egg mixture, in a circular pattern. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Move the skillet from the stovetop to the upper rack of your oven. Bake until frittata is firm in the center and cheese is browned, about 20 minutes. Use a flexible spatula to loosen the frittata from the pan. Carefully slide it onto a cutting board. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serves 4.

apple bacon cheddar frittata

** FoodieTots notes: I cooked the bacon in my cast iron skillet, and reserved about a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan instead of using butter. I didn’t want to have two extra egg yolks leftover, so I used 9 whole eggs. And of course I used cage-free eggs from the farmers market.

Kids Cook Monday: Strawberry Cream Tart

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The folks behind the Meatless Monday campaign (HealthyMonday.org) have added a new weekly challenge to their menu: Kids Cook Monday. The newly-launched website contains kid-friendly recipes and videos of parents cooking with their kids. Naturally, FoodieTots is thrilled to support the cause — you can see some of our kid-tested recipes on the site already. And, in honor of the launch (and our new house!), the Foodie Tot and I made a Strawberry Cream Tart this weekend.

A tart is a fairly fool-proof pastry to make with younger kids. And if you, say, haven’t yet unpacked the food processor, a little child labor comes in handy in combining the flour and butter with a pastry blender. Since the rolling pin was also unaccounted for, I simply pressed the dough into my tart pan. Not as pretty, but it gets the job done.

As the boy notes in the video, the strawberries came from our new neighborhood’s farmers market, the Falls Church market. (He’s still a little confused on whether both Alexandria and Arlington are in Virginia.) It was the first weekend of strawberry season here in Virginia, and they were abundant at the market. And I bought the mascarpone for the tart from Blue Ridge Dairy, and the (multi-colored) eggs from Valentine’s Country Meats & Bakery.

Watch the video! (and pardon my arm in front of the boy’s face … we need to work on our camera set-up in the new kitchen.)

Foodie Tot makes Strawberry Cream Tart from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

Recipe: Strawberry Cream Tart

Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, combine flour and cold butter until small pea-sized lumps form. Add powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with a fork. Add to flour mixture and mix until dough begins to come together (will still look quite crumbly). Press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour before rolling out. Alternately, press crumbs into a butter tart pan. Freeze tart shell for 10 minutes. Prick with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Shell should look set but not begin to brown. Cool before filling.

Cream Filling

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Instructions: Stir cheese, sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

Strawberries

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fruit jam (we used plum), melted in microwave for 10 seconds and thinned with a few drops of water

Assembling the tart: Place the cooled tart on the counter and arrange the cream, berries and jam nearby. Your child can spread the cream in the shell, arrange strawberries over the cream, and use a pastry brush to brush the jam over the berries. Chill for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

If you’d like to join the Kids Cook Monday fun, visit the website or contact Joanna Lee at jlee@mondaycampaigns.org. And please check back the first Monday of each month for the latest Foodie Tot cooks video!

Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza (and Curious Chef product review)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’ve written a lot about apples this fall, but I’d be remiss not to mention that other star of late autumn fruit stands: the pear. From crisp Asian pears, perfect for salads, to sweet Bartlett pears, poached for dessert, and the boy’s favorite, toddler-hand-sized Seckels, we’d be hard pressed to take sides in a pear-apple face-off. We always enjoy the samples offered by Papa’s Orchard at the West End Alexandria farmers market, and the boy has been known to devour a Seckel (or two) before finishing our stroll through the market.

These sweet and savory pizzas also feature two other of my local farmers market favorites, grassfed lamb sausage from Valentine’s Country Meats and fresh ricotta from Keswick Creamery. The pizza crust was made from frozen dough I picked up from the Italian Store for pizza-making emergencies. Of course you could make your own, if you prefer. There are few better ways to get kids into the kitchen than with make-your-own-pizza night. Thanks to the kid-sized tools from Curious Chef (see below), the boy was able to help with rolling out the dough, slicing the pears, and of course, decorating the pies.

Recipe: Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza

Ingredients:

  • pizza crust for 2 pizzas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet pears, thinly sliced
  • several fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions: In a skillet, crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain excess drippings and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or pizza peel, if you have one. Spread several tablespoons of ricotta over the crusts, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, each. (If your ricotta is particularly moist, use less oil.) Spread pears and onions around, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, and scatter sausage over the top. Drop a few more spoonfuls of ricotta over the pears. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Makes 2 pizzas. Enjoy!

curious chef pizza kitCurious Chef Product Review: We received the Curious Chef pizza kit to try out, as seen in the photos above. The boy was beyond trilled to have “my very own!” knife and rolling pin. The knife is made of sturdy plastic that actually can cut through an apple or pear, without fear of slicing off finger tips. Ever since our pizza making fun, when he sees me slicing something he gets out his own knife from his kitchen drawer and demands to help. The easy-grip handles make the tools perfect for small hands, and it’s nice to be able to set him up with his own cutting board and knife to keep him busy while I’m prepping the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Curious Chef gets a big thumbs up from the Foodie Tot. (My only complaint is that the white plastic isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more kid-appropriate than stocking up on fancier, and more breakable, items from somewhere like Williams-Sonoma.) View the full product line (and safety information) at CuriousChef.com.

*Disclaimer: all reviews are the opinion solely of myself and my son, and are not financially compensated in any way.*