This past summer M attended a baking camp at Sur La Table for 8-12-year-olds. This was M's first time attending a cooking class here and it really did not disappoint. I am excited to share with you my thoughts on the camp she attended. Sur La Table offers not only camps for kids during summer and breaks but also 1-time classes. On their website they have a class coming up for kids that will teach them how to cook amazing things with Thanksgiving leftovers. How cool is that?!
Kids Baking Camp
The summer camp we signed up for was a kids baking camp. I think it was a valuable experience and I know others could benefit from seeing what it was like. I was blown away by all that these kids accomplished and learned in 2 hours each day for a week. The food tasted amazing, and the recipes they got to take home will undoubtedly be practiced and perfected over time.
Their schedule for the week looked like this:
Day 1: Pies & Tarts
They made delicious cherry pies and custard fruit tarts. The kids learned the steps for mixing, rolling, shaping and baking a perfectly flaky pie and tart crust. They talked about using seasonal ingredients for fillings. Additionally, they got hands-on practice for making two styles of individual-size treats.
Day 2: Bakeshop
On day 2 they made morning glory muffins and monkey bread. This class focused on delectable bakery-style treats. The kids working together in small groups learning techniques to properly measure and mix. They were taught how to make and assemble doughs, and then bake them to perfection.
Day 3: French Patisserie
After mastering a few baking fundamentals, the kids learned advanced techniques for creating French bakery favorites at home. The teacher walked the kids through the steps for making choux pastry and piping perfect éclairs and gougères. I think learning how to make the pastry cream, filling éclairs and topping them with a homemade chocolate glaze was a very rewarding experience for M. This is not something we typically do at home so she really felt like she was learning something special here.
Day 4 & 5: Two-Day Celebration Cakes & Ice Cream
The last two days were spent preparing for a celebration featuring two amazing cakes and a fruity homemade ice cream. On day four, the kids made cake batter, baked cakes, prepared fillings and created an ice cream custard base. On the final day, the instructor covered techniques for churning ice cream. M thought that making frosting from scratch was so cool. The kids assembled their cakes and even got to try piping techniques for decorating. The cake an ice-cream party at the end was a great way to finish off the week.
All of the recipes were sent home each day, and now M has been able to start her very own recipe collection. Pretty cool for a 9-year-old!
Beyond Just the Recipes
One of the valuable lessons learned at this cooking camp (and at all of their classes, I am sure) is that great cooking isn't just about recipes. It is essential to know and practice the techniques. Classes here are fun because the kids get to work together with other students. They get the hands-on environment to learn those techniques from professional chef instructors.
As a homeschool mom, I am always on the lookout for valuable instruction on anything for M from curriculum to life skills. Cooking is something I see as a critical life skill she will need. Although this is a skill we work on at home, I love experiences like this that help fill that need in a fun way where she also gets to work together with other kids.
If you were like me and had never visited Sur La Table, you may not know that these cooking classes for kids and adults exist. I would definitely recommend to others in this age group and will be looking out for M to do more classes there in the future.
Have you had an experience at one of Sur La Table's cooking classes? I'd love to hear more about some of the other classes they offer as we hope to try more in the future. Feel free to join the conversation!
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