My kids love to cook. Every time I start to make something they ask if they can help. Being a MAJOR control freak, and usually in a hurry to get dinner on the table, I almost always say “not now, but thanks for asking.”Â So to say my kids were over the moon excited when I received Kids Cooking Made Easy: Favorite Triple-Tested RecipesÂ to review, is an understatement.
They poured over the book cover-to-cover and picked out several recipes to try. But the only one they all could agree on making first was the Chocolate Pretzel Bars.
Before we get into the cooking, I’d like to talk about the cookbook. Written by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, this cookbook includes 60 easy-to-make, kid-friendly Kosher recipes. Not that you need to be Kosher to enjoy them! We sure did and we are about as far from Kosher as you can be!
My youngest had no problems with any of the directions because the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The illustrations are beautiful,Â eye-catching andÂ get the kids excited about cooking, evenÂ something that they have never tasted before, likeÂ Broccoli-Cheese BorekasÂ andÂ Pizza Soup.
Kids Cooking Made EasyÂ has a great reference section in the front of the book that explains about measurements, abbreviations used withinÂ the cookbook, and the proper measuring cups to use for dry and wet ingredients.Â You will also find a handy diagram on how to set a table. My 10 YO especially liked this and was excited to set the table for dinner several nights in a row!
In a section called “Before and After Cooking,” Schapira and Dwek reveal what to do “before you cook” (like explaining “mis en place”), “while they’re eating”, and best of all, “after you cook”, (clean up!!) Gotta love that!
Throughout the book you will find handy tools on each page to help prepare the recipe. For instance, in the Panini Wraps recipe there isÂ an icon of an avocado next toÂ the ingredients list; then if you look over to the sidebar, you will find a matching icon that explains how to prepare the avocado.
There is also a section called “Cooking School” on each page which describesÂ a new cooking tip or provides a definition of a technique that is used within the recipe.
The step-by-step illustrated instructions are very helpful. For example, the Chocolate Pretzel Bars recipe calls for a chocolate ganache. The “Making Chocolate Ganache” instructions pictured to the right include tips about the recipe and illustrations showing how to complete the steps properly.
I found the cookbook extremely well thought out with comprehensive directions appropriate for nearly any child who can read. My kids pull it out of the pantry every few days and ask if they can make something for dinner. And now that I see what they can do on their own, I’m becoming much better at letting them help in the kitchen.
Okay so back to the cooking!
Chocolate Pretzel Bars
The girls and I gathered up all the needed ingredients and utensils, and got everything ready (“mis en place”) to begin making the Chocolate Pretzel Bars.
Before they started, I explained to the girls that there are two things you should always do before beginning a recipe:
- Wash your hands.
- Read through the complete recipe to be sure you understand all the instructions and to have everything needed to complete the recipe.
While the girls washed their hands I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.
First, they started working on the crust. The recipe calls for a food processor to make the crust (I borrowed one from my neighbor) but you can crush the pretzels and mix the ingredients using a ziplock bag and a rolling pin, it just takes a little longer to do it that way.
Once the crust was finished, I placed it in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes.
While the crust baked my little chefs started working on the chocolate ganache. They were very careful around the stove.
Once the ganache was ready and the crust had been taken out of the oven, they poured the ganache on top of the crust and spread it all over.
After tasting the ganache and seeing how rich it was, we decided to useÂ plainÂ pretzels on the top of the bars instead of making the chocolate covered pretzels.
We let the panÂ cool off a bit, then put it in the fridge to firm up.
After the bars were finishedÂ I had to run a quick errand. I was gone about 15-20 minutes. When I came home this is what I found (see photo below)… I’d say the bars were a big hit!
- 4 oz salted pretzel sticks, crushed (about 1 1/4 cup of crumbs)
- 1/4 C brown sugar
- 2/3 C oil (I used butter and cut it down to 1/2 C)
- 1 egg white
- 8 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (we used milk chocolate chips)
- 1 C non dairy whipped topping
- 2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate (for Choc Covered Pretzels)
- 30 mini salted pretzels (for Choc Covered Pretzels)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a food processor, process pretzel crumbs, brown sugar, oil/butter, and egg white until combined.
- Add mixture to pan, pressing down with a spoon to smooth it. Bake for 12 minutes.
- Place chocolate into a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring whipped topping to a boil over high heat. Pour over chocolate. Let sit for 4-4 minutes, as the hot whipped topping helps to melt the chocolate.
- Whisk chocolate mixture until smooth (if there are any lumps left, microwave for 15 seconds and whisk again). Pour over crust. Place in refrigerator or freezer until firm.
- Prepare the chocolate covered pretzels: Melt chocolate. Dip half of each pretzel into chocolate. Place them onto wax or parchment paper to set.
- When chocolate layer is firm, top with chocolate-covered pretzels. Keep frozen; cut into bars to serve.
Serving Size:1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 12.5gSaturated Fat: 3.9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8.6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 26.9gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 7.8gProtein: 2.9g