Kids in the Kitchen: Pecan Pie and Maple Toffee

pecan pie

Chef Brigham Cook from Cooks Culinary had another great class at the Jones Center teaching kids about International desserts.  Official Kids Mag was in the kitchen while the kids made Canadian Maple Toffee for Canada and Texas State Fair Award-Winning Chocolate Pecan Pie for the United States.  Official Kids Mag learned a lot, just like the kids. 

These culinary students made BOTH of these international treats in less than two hours, baking included.  What a whirlwind of fun.

Texas State Fair Award-Winning Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pie Pastry

• 1 cup flour

• 3 tablespoons butter

• Dash of salt

• 4 tablespoons of ice water

Put the flour, butter and salt in the food chopper, and hit the button few times to cut in the butter and mix it with the flour.  Add the ice water and mix. 

Turn it out on a floured surface.  Knead the dough a few times, then roll out to fit pie plate.

Pecan Pie Filling

• 3 eggs

• ½ c white sugar

• ½ c brown sugar

• ½ c corn syrup

• 2 tablespoons melted butter

• 2 cups pecans

• 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Put pecans and chocolate chips in pie pastry.  Mix the eggs, sugars, melted butter and corn syrup well with a spoon and pour over pecans and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until the center is solid.

 

Canadian Maple Toffee

Now, about that Maple Toffee.  This candy is made by pouring boiling maple syrup on snow and quickly twisting a wooden stick in the syrup before it sets.  

There wasn’t any snow in Arkansas yet this year, so Chef Cook got creative and showed the kids how to make snow with a food chopper and ice cubes.  The snow was put on a cookie sheet and stuck in the freezer for later.  

The candy is made from boiling maple syrup.  A special candy thermometer is used to bring the syrup to the right temperature.  Then the syrup is splashed over snow and sticks are used to wrap the toffee onto the stick.  You have to be fast to get the toffee before it cools down.

Some important facts about boiling sugar or syrup:  You will need your adult if you do this.  Hot syrup can cause serious burns.  

As the maple syrup heats up, sugars in it start to break down. At 235 degrees it is a soft boil and turns to caramel.  At a temperature of 250, sugar completely breaks down and crystallizes.   By using snow, the rapid change in temperature from really hot to really cold is what helps form the Maple Toffee.

Important candy and sugar temperatures!!

• 235 degrees is soft boil – caramel

• 250 degrees is hard boil – suckers

 

By Renee Durham

 

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