Kiran Thammon, 7, and Divya, 9, dipped balloons in melted chocolate and added sprinkles. TNS
The timer beeped, and Liz Lee Heinecke handed her 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, two oven mitts. Her latest science experiment was ready.
Sarah opened the door of the oven and took out a silvery pan containing the result of a chemical reaction that demonstrated how heat turns water into steam: popovers.
Heinecke plucked one of the eggy rolls from a large muffin tin and tore it open so steam shot out of it. Then she slathered on a bit of butter and took a bite.
“Edible science,” Heinecke said with her mouth full.
Her popovers — airy buns that rise without a leavening agent due to the steam that forms when putting liquid batter into a hot pan — represent only one recipe in a book full of ways to teach kids about scientific principles, while also making dinner.
“Cooking and baking are science,” Heinecke said in her kitchen while she waited for the popovers to rise. “Once you understand the basics — you can add an acid and it makes it taste a little sour and brings out the salt — it becomes second nature. So then you can say, ‘I know this experiment is going to work.’”
CHOCOLATE DOMES AND BOWLS
10 to 12 (5-inch) round balloons
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces white chocolate, optional
Blow up the balloons. Set glasses or ramekins on a baking sheet.
Chop the semisweet chocolate into small pieces.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring for 30 seconds in between each heating until just melted and smooth. Alternately, melt the chocolate in a pan over a larger pan of simmering water. The chocolate should not be too hot or it will melt the balloons.
Chop the white chocolate into small pieces and melt as you did the semisweet.
Put the melted semisweet chocolate in a bowl slightly larger than the balloons and dip the untied end of the balloon in, coating the lower third of the balloon with chocolate.
Flip the balloon over onto a ramekin or small glass to cool, keeping the chocolate on the top of the balloon.
Spoon some melted white chocolate into a plastic zipper bag and cut off a tiny corner of the bag. Pipe the white chocolate in a design over the semisweet on the balloon.
Add sprinkles if you wish. Repeat with the rest of the balloons, reheating the chocolate if necessary.
Put the balloons in the freezer until the chocolate domes are solid and you’re ready to eat them.
Remove the chocolate domes from the freezer. Pop the balloons and slowly pull them off the domes.
Use the domes as bowls for ice cream, or flip them over and hide a treat beneath.
Tribune News Service
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