Sunday, October 21, 2012

Teaching students how not to bake...

Look, I'm still alive but barely! This year I’m teaching a full load of classes and I decided to take on a few more extra curriculars than before which isn’t the most logical step. Get more work, make more work, right? One of the clubs that I’ve been begged to start was the school cooking club. Most of these pictures will be brought to you by some of the great students I have the pleasure of teaching. Actually, I have never even taught most of these kids, I just know them from extra curricular activities. But hey, they're so great, they randomly leave me red velvet cupcakes on my desk. It sure beats the old apple for the teacher thing.

Cleverly named Kells Kitchen after our school Kells Academy, the cooking club met once prior to Thanksgiving to do some baking. I plugged it as a cooking club and somehow these kids twist my arm into baking. Now I have no problem with baking except when the club is held Friday after school at 3pm and we need to cook, eat and clean up before 4:30pm. They decided that we should bake something to fit an autumn theme so what better than choice apple crisp and pumpkin muffins? 

We ended up having to turn the pumpkin muffins into a pumpkin cake which then turned out to be undercooked. We ate around the inside which was actually delicious. Clearly, this taught them an important lesson: don’t sweat the small stuff! This attitude towards cooking is how I tell people that I’m just some guy who loves food rather than a ‘foodie’ because everyone assumes I know what I’m doing! I want to teach the my students to enjoy what they’re doing and to love every minute of it no matter how mushy your cake turns out.

Very much like a pumpkin on the inside.
Apple Crisp
- This recipe comes from
- Some students found it quite sour/tart, so be wary of the lemon juice!
- We left out all the optional ingredients and the nuts due to allergies.


1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground nutmeg(optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (30 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans

6 cups (1.2 L) Granny Smith Apples or other firm, tart-tasting apple (peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons (40 grams) white granulated sugar


Apple Crisp:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter or spray with a cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) deep dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish. (Can also make 8 individual ramekins.)

Topping:  Place all the topping ingredients (flour, sugars, spices, butter, oats and nuts) in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly (looks like coarse meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible.  (This can also be done with two knives or your fingertips.)  Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling: Place the apple chunks in a large bowl, along with the berries (if using) and lemon zest. Toss with the lemon juice and sugar. Transfer to your prepared baking dish  Spread the topping evenly over the apples.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes (20- 25 minutes for individual ramekins) or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown. (If you insert the tip of a sharp knife into a chunk of apple, it should be tender, not mushy.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The apple crisp turned out great and the pictures were supplied by the students. It’s a joy to be able to bake with these kids as they were able to work so well independently. I barely had to do much of anything except buy the groceries and stand around. They’re also so eager to keep baking and cooking every week! If only I wasn’t so busy, you know, teaching...
These crazy kids and their instant gramming or what have you...