Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love Make (and Eat!), written by Deanna F. Cook, features a variety of savory and sweet recipes paired with practical kitchen skills for young cooks. A few highlights include Breakfast Sundaes, Spinach Pinwheels, Berry Good Smoothies, Popcorn Chicken, and Little Lemon Squares. I will also be sharing her recipe for Popcorn Balls following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Storey Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Deanna F. Cook
Deanna F. Cook is a children’s book author and acquisitions editor for Storey Publishing. She has written many award-winning cookbooks for kids including Cooking Class: Global Feast and Baking Class. Deanna is currently based in western Massachusetts.
Before getting to the recipes in Cooking Class (Amazon Link), Deanna has put together an incredibly detailed guide to the kitchen. This will help young cooks get started with basic safety rules and even vocabulary/cooking terms to better understand the recipes.
Chapters are divided according to course: Welcome to Cooking Class!, Breakfast Café, Lunch Lessons, Snack Attack, Eat Your Veggies, My First Dinners, and Time for Dessert. The contents have a list of the recipes in each chapter with page numbers for easy reference.
Tips are scattered among the pages with guides on folding napkins, cooking bacon, creating a fruit flower garden, assembling sandwiches, and more. At the end of the book, there are a few bonus activities to help stay engaged such as stickers and labels, place cards, recipe cards, and even tear-out questions to add conversation starters during mealtime.
Each of the recipes are accompanied by a spoon symbol to show skill level from 1-3. One spoon is for the easiest of recipes without any use of a hot stove or sharp knife. Two spoons are a little more difficult with some knife-related prep work and new kitchen skills which may require the help of a parent or older sibling. Three spoons are for the most difficult recipes with the use of sharp knives, the oven, and stovetop.
The engaging photography is provided by Julie Bidwell. Step-by-step photos are abundant and paired with simple instructions to easily follow along. Titles are written in English and in cursive (the instructions are in larger print). Each recipe includes a headnote with basic information, serving size, difficulty level, and helpful tips. Measurements are listed in US Customary.
To pair with the cookbook review, the kids chose Popcorn Balls from the Snack Attack chapter! Claire was so excited and called them Rice Krispies Treats, but in popcorn form.
Popped popcorn (either plain store-bought or popping kernels at home- there is a guide in the book) is gently folded into a mixture of melted butter and marshmallows, then formed into balls once cool enough to handle.
They are such a fun and easy snack with only three ingredients! The kids decided to coat a few of the Popcorn Balls in sprinkles for a bit of a festive touch. This would also be a great way to customize the snack for holidays throughout the year.
If not eating the popcorn balls right away, store each in plastic wrap once the mixture has cooled completely to room temperature. There is even a sticker in the back of the book of the popcorn balls with a spot to write your name + “Ball of Yum” for extra customization.
The kids also picked out the Grab-and-Go Granola Bars, Sleepover Party Pancakes, Super Sliders, and Hot Cocoa Pops to try.
Claire decided on the Grab-and-Go Granola Bars from the Breakfast Café chapter. Butter is melted on the stove with honey, brown sugar, and vanilla, then combined with oats to create the granola based. Chocolate chips are pressed into the top of the bars for a fun addition. Deanne mentions a few variations with raisins, coconut, cranberries, peanut butter chips, and more.
Evan picked out the Sleepover Party Pancakes first. This recipe is better for older kids with the constant flipping of the pancakes over heat, but overall everything comes together easily. We topped the pancakes simply with butter and maple syrup. Other options include the addition of fruit or shaping the pancakes into letters/numbers.
Evan was also drawn to the Super Sliders from the My First Dinners section. Ground beef is combined with egg, bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, and salt, then formed into patties. Each patty is grilled until cooked, then paired with dinner rolls and small slices of cheese for quite the delicious dinner.
The Hot Cocoa Pops were an absolute favorite for Claire. A basic hot cocoa with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla is cooled to room temperature, then poured into popsicle molds with a few mini marshmallows. The mixture is frozen overnight before serving. It is the perfect way to enjoy a little hot cocoa on a warm summer day. She also made the Hot Cocoa Mix for future use.
Cooking Class is a great pick for those looking for kid-based cookbooks with a fun variety of recipes. Meals range from incredibly simple no-cook basics with only a handful of items to more difficult techniques best for older kids or those with adult assistance.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. A few items that may require further searching include egg roll wrappers, imitation crabmeat, nori, wasabi, pickled ginger, sushi rice, fresh mozzarella, and spring roll wrappers.
Popcorn Balls Recipe
Excerpt from Cooking Class
- 4 tablespoons butter plus a little more for your hands
- 1 package (10 ounces) mini marshmallows
- 7 cups popped popcorn about 1/4 cup kernels
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add the marshmallows to the pan and stir until they're completely melted. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the popcorn into the pot and stir well to coat all the kernels.
- When the popcorn mixture is cool enough to handle, rub a little butter on your hands, grab a handful, and gently pat it into a ball.
- Set the ball on a plate and repeat with the remaining popcorn until it's all used.
- Eat right away!
- To save them for later, let the balls cool completely, then wrap each one in plastic wrap.