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Les Petits Chefs make treats for the holidays with Theresa Albert

It’s the last Petits Chefs post for 2012! Can you believe it? This term I have hosted cooking club not once but TWICE a week (you can check out what my younger students have been up to in cooking club on my school website – working our way through Jamie Oliver’s Home Cooking Skills website) and thanks to the generosity of Toronto chefs and food personalities who have volunteered to come in and teach the boys most weeks, I think we’ve had a pretty incredible lineup for the older guys (if I *do* say so myself!).

This week, we welcomed Theresa Albert to the kitchens science lab.  Theresa is a freelance food, health, weight loss and cooking expert who appears on the CBC’s Steven and Chris  daily lifestyle show  and a variety of news outlets. Most recently she was on  CTV Newschannel making sense of health news as well as CBC The National.  Theresa has a passion for simple, honest solutions to today’s lifestyle choices and has provided content and comment for every major Canadian broadcaster, newspaper and magazine. We’re SO lucky to have welcomed her to our school!

Being so close to the winter break (the excitement in the air this week was palpable!), Theresa wanted to show the boys two easy homemade treats: chocolate bark and caramel corn.

We focussed on the science element of cooking this week as Theresa talked the boys through melting chocolate for the bark and making sure the temperature stayed very very low…

Meanwhile, over on the “candy cane bashing” stations….

Ahem. Everyone loved that part of the session!

Once the chocolate had melted enough, we folded some of the candy cane pieces through the molten chocolate. Then Theresa showed us how to pour it and smooth it over parchment on a baking tray. Then we added a little more candy cane.

After about 30 minutes in the fridge, we had our bark…

A lil gooey on the day (we kind of ran out of time for it to completely set) but so so good… Even better the next day after a night in the fridge!

While the bark was hanging out in the fridge, we got to making our caramel for homemade caramel corn with cranberries.

Again, the temperature was of the utmost importance and we waited patiently until the caramel reached 255˚F.

Meanwhile, some of the boys mixed dried cranberries through the plain popcorn.

And once the caramel was ready, Theresa poured it over the popcorn and we got mixing, quickly so it didn’t set!

While the caramel corn was baking in the oven, we worked on cards for the gift bags we would package our treats in.

And after 15 minutes in the oven… voilà:

Two of the easiest homemade holiday treats you’ll make – I know the boys were super impressed (especially with the caramel corn – I heard a lot of “Wow that’s so much easier than I imagined!”) and I expect some of them will be making some more of this over their holidays.

Big thanks to Theresa for coming out and working with the boys in what I know was a busy week. We so appreciate your time.  Follow Theresa on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and don’t forget to check out her blog, My Friend in Food.

Thanks for following along another term of Les Petits Chefs. We’ll be back in January!

** I’m submitting this to the Kitchen Bootcamp Challenge – Holiday Recipes.

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14 Responses to Les Petits Chefs make treats for the holidays with Theresa Albert

  1. Jamie December 20, 2012 at 08:05 #

    Wow now I want to make caramel popcorn AND chocolate bark! I love seeing all the little hands joyously making treats with you! Happy Holidays to all the little elves!

  2. Ann Mah December 20, 2012 at 10:31 #

    I love the idea of these boys taking home their recipes and recreating them with their families. This is such a great program, Mardi! And now I want to make caramel corn, too!

    • Mardi Michels January 26, 2013 at 07:52 #

      Yes many of them cook with their parents at home now too!

  3. Colette @ JFF! December 20, 2012 at 14:06 #

    I love seeing little hands making sweets. Merry Christmas!!

  4. Geoff December 20, 2012 at 17:54 #

    LPCs were a triumph this year. Credit to the boys, the school and you, Mardi.

  5. Mary Hirsch December 21, 2012 at 05:26 #

    Wow, what a wonderful and educational and informative day of cooking for the guys. It is not particularly easy to always have your caramel come out perfect. The caramel corn looks delkicious. (I love caramel corn.) I would have eaten that bark – hard or soft. What lovely and sweet presents to give to someone special.

    • Mardi Michels January 26, 2013 at 07:51 #

      Yes I love showing the boys how easy it is to make treats they normally would buy.

  6. Mr. Neil December 21, 2012 at 07:28 #

    No wonder none of THESE made it to Mr. Neil’s lunchbucket! ;-)

  7. Paula December 21, 2012 at 10:49 #

    Wow! I can imagine how sweet and delicious your science lab smelled on this day. What great little treats for the boys to take home. Love their gift tags. Love also that the popcorn treat had cranberries in it too.

    Happy Holidays to you and to all your hard working Les Petits Chefs :)

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