guest blog post by Isabella Lovett
Entice Kids into the Kitchen
Kids can learn so many things from learning how to cook and make desserts. Hands-on activities boost their confidence, teach them problem-solving skills, contribute to fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills, enhance creativity, and encourage them to hone their knowledge in other areas—including science, art, and mathematics. However, in this era of smartphones and tablets, it can be difficult to inspire kids to take part in cooking and baking activities. If you have little ones in your family and you’d like them to discover how much fun they can have in the kitchen, entice them with a universally loved ingredient: chocolate!
Use Cute Molds and Shape Cutters
If your kids haven’t spent much time in the kitchen before, we recommend enticing them with kitchen tools designed for younger chefs. These can include small, colorful rolling pins, cookie cutters, and molds for chocolate. Make sure your kids can reach the counter by providing them with a stool, and buy them an apron in a style and color they like.
Make your first activity easy by starting with their favorite chocolate bar—think chuao’s Sprinkle Dreams, Potato Chip, or Honeycomb flavors. Melt the bars over a double boiler or in the microwave in small increments. As the chocolate cools, teach kids how to pour the chocolate into their favorite molds and encourage them to add any additional ingredients they like—candy, nuts, raisins, or any snack they love.
At Easter or Christmas time, use special molds like Easter egg and Christmas ornament chocolate molds, filling them with candy, pretzels, nuts, chips, and other surprises that will delight their friends and family.
Experiment with Molecular Cuisine
Molecular cuisine intersects science, art, and flavor. Kids who are interested in science will love taking cooking classes to the next level by producing dishes inspired by the molecular cuisine movement. Spanish Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli was one of the founding fathers of this movement, and he created dishes that dreams are made of. Think salty taste breakers like tomato ice with oregano and almond pink pudding, a smoke foam, or colorful beverages served in test tubes.
You can start introducing this to your kids by first investing in a basic molecular cuisine kit. This will enable you to make amazing creations through techniques like gelification, emulsification, and spherification. Make sure to take pictures and document all of your fun creations!
Make Your Own Chocolate
Another fun kitchen activity with kids is making your own chocolate at home. Take the chocolates to the next level and infuse them with therapeutic-grade, edible essential oils, ranging in flavors from bergamot to peppermint or orange. You can either use existing Chuao Chocolatier bars, melting them and adding just one small drop of essential oil per bar, or start from scratch.
If you’re health-conscious, consider making raw chocolate using cacao and cacao butter. It takes just a few minutes to make a few trays of chocolate. The key to raw chocolate is to cook your cacao and cacao butter blend over a double boiler at a low heat and only until all ingredients are blended. In this way, you can maintain the high antioxidant content of raw cacao. For a healthy sweetener, choose stevia or Xylitol over sugar or artificial sweeteners like saccharine.
Enticing kids into the kitchen can be challenging in these tech-focused times. If one ingredient can help you achieve your goal of getting kids into the kitchen, it’s got to be chocolate. Melt down and reshape your favorite Chuao Chocolatier bars, make your own from scratch, or make the experience as creative as possible by tapping into molecular cuisine.