Friday, January 16, 2015

ATLAS: Cooking with Chocolate

One of my favorite regular programs I do for my 3rd-6th graders is cooking class. It is a challenge because we have no stove, but through experience (and with a little help from Pinterest) I've been able to find some easy recipes that seem to work. I've also come up with a few tips that seem to make things go relatively smoothly.

For this month's ATLAS (At The Library After School), I decided to once again focus our recipes around a guaranteed crowd pleaser: Chocolate!

Here's what we made (recipe title links to my handouts for each recipe):

Chocolate dip:

This was the most complicated recipe we made at this program, so I made sure it came first. It basically involves mixing equal parts melted chocolate and whipped topping. For individual servings I had the kids use a 1/4 cup of each. The final addition is vanilla. My cooking tip to the kids: A little extra vanilla is never a bad thing! 

Chocolate Pudding in a bag: 

I'm sure many of you are already familiar with the idea of having kids make pudding in a bag. In case you aren't, the idea is to follow the directions for making instant pudding but mix it in a (well-sealed!) plastic baggie. I chose chocolate pudding and used half a small box per child. For 12 kids, the amount of milk needed was almost exactly one gallon.

Hot Chocolate Stirrer:

This recipe was a seasonal addition that I thought tied in well with our chocolate theme. The kids placed a marshmallow on a candy cane and covered it with melted chocolate and sprinkles. I  had extra candy canes left over from the holidays so this worked out perfectly! As an alternate option I brought graham cracker crumbs for them to make Smore's Pops.

Microwave Chocolate Fudge:

I've saved the best for last. This is the easiest and most delicious fudge recipe I have ever seen. All you need to do is microwave three cups of chocolate chips and a can of condensed milk. I did it as a demo for the kids and let each take a small bowl  home to refrigerate. This recipe is definitely becoming one of my new go to dessert recipes!

Tips and tricks:
  • 12 kids works perfectly for this program. Any more and I think time to fit in recipes would be an issue. Keeping it to 12 also limits the cost of ingredients (this program cost about $20).
  • It is a good idea to do any recipe demos first. It is hard to keep kids' attention once they've ingested a certain level of sugar!
  • Sometimes the simpler the recipe the more kids like it. Case in point: The kids at my program almost unanimously agreed that the Hot Chocolate Stirrer was their favorite recipe.
If you have any of your own tips or ideas for cooking with kids I'd love to hear them. Recipe suggestions are always welcome too :)


  1. These recipes looks great. I was wondering how long the program was. It looks like you do a few difference recipes in one sitting.

    1. The program usually lasts around an hour. We can typically do about 4 recipes in that time period :)