Keepers #10 (2013-2014)

Wow! You blink and two weeks of your life flash by. Before you know it, another Keepers meeting is at hand and there are a multitude of things which need to be done. This meeting, we chose to spend a little more time on teaching the girls how to prepare some tasty treats.

Our second meeting of February was on the subject of chocolate! There is so much to talk about when it comes to this delicious topic: where it grows; how it grows; how it is made; various types of chocolate; and more!

One specific topic we discussed with the girls was how to properly melt chocolate. Most of us probably do not own double boilers, not being chocolatiers and all. However, there are also various other methods of melting chocolate. You could use your microwave or buy candy melts. One handy tool which you might want to consider… your slow cooker!

Yup; that’s right! You can use your slow cooker to melt chocolate. Who knew? (Well, apparently someone clever figured this out and was kind enough to share it with the rest of us.) Simply dust off your slow cooker, fill it about half way with water, turn it on (I sometimes forget to do this; sad, I know!), place your chocolate into a glass container, and then place the glass into the warming water. Allow about twenty minutes to a half hour for the chocolate to melt and then, go for it!

For our purposes, we used glass mason jars and filled them with chocolate chips. I did this instead of one large glass container because I knew we would be distributing the chocolate amongst about fifteen girls; one container for all of them to share would have just been chaotic. Instead, I used mason jars and just doled out chocolate into smaller dishes which they had in front of them.

A few notes on using your slow cooker as a double boiler… First; when using this method, do not put a lid on your crock pot. Condensation, would do harm to the chocolate; making it thick and hard to work with. Leave the lid off! Second; be very careful not to get any water into the chocolate while working with it. Again, water and chocolate do not go well together. Lastly; if you want to use candy melts, instead of good quality baking chocolate, forgo the water and jars, placing the melts directly into the crock pot. Stir the candy every few minutes and then use when fully melted. With either the double boiler or the candy melt method, the chocolate will stay smooth for several hours! There is no need to rush through your project, you have plenty of time; making this method of melting chocolate quite superior!

After those important notes were attended to, we got to the fun. Bananas, apples, sprinkles, Kool Whip (a good substitute for those with lactose intolerance), cherries, and raspberries were made available and the girls were free to have some fun!

Chocolate Delight

Chocolate Delight #2

Notice the squeeze bottle, which also contains chocolate. Such an easy method of having melted chocolate on hand for fancy decorating!

Chocolate Delight #3 Chocolate Delight #4 Chocolate Delight #5Our girls had so much fun. Once the materials were handed out, they were free to explore their internal chocolatiers! Plus, who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate now and again?

How do you melt chocolate for your baking needs?

A Matter of Chocolate

Last week the kiddos and I attempted to conduct a science experiment in which we learned how to change a substance from one state of matter to another. I figured we might as well make it tasty as well; right?! So, we decided to experiment with chocolate! Yum! Unfortunately, our chocolate appeared to a bit old (heaven forbid) and the experiment was a flop.

Not to be put off, I bought more chocolate this week and we tried the experiment again, with much better results. In the mood for chocolate? Try this out….

Matter is expressed in one or more of these forms; Solid, Liquid or Gas.  The air around us, for example, is gas. Some matter can be changed from one state into another, like a solid to a liquid or a liquid to a gas.

Steps:

1.  Gather a few rose leaves
2.  Wash the leaves and dry them carefully.
3.  Ask an adult to pour the hot water into the pan.
4.  Carefully place the bowl inside the pan (make sure that the water does not get in the bowl).
5.  Place some of the chocolate in the bowl (the heat from the water will melt the chocolate; it turns into a thick liquid).
6.  Have an adult remove the bowl of chocolate from the pan (with the pot holder) and place it on the table.
7.  Paint the chocolate onto the top of the leaves using the paintbrush

When the chocolate starts to cool, it turns back into a solid and takes on the shape of the leaves.  Peel away the real leaves to reveal the new chocolate leaves.

Easy, right? They turned out to be so beautiful and delicious! For more exciting (and tasty) experiments like this one, make sure to check out Kids Science Experiments.

Okay… now its time to eat some chocolate!