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Baking with STEAM (Education): How to Turn Your Kitchen Into a Classroom

Baking with STEAM (Education): How to Turn Your Kitchen Into a Classroom

By Ashley McGuirk | Owner of Stay Sweet Wellness

This year, "back-to-school" is looking a bit different for all of us. Even though it’s a different setting than we’re used to, it can still be fun and engaging. That’s why we’ll be outlining the “Baking with STEAM” education concept throughout this recipe blog post, referencing my Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies Recipe.

“STEAM” is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. By pairing this educational concept with baking, it provides kids a fun and engaging lesson to express creativity and learn more about the science(s) of cooking. I hope this blog post provides you with a fun and educational lesson for your children.

Some of my most meaningful memories come from cooking in the kitchen with my parents. I hope you, too, experience the fun and magic cooking can create. Have fun making delicious memories!


The Science Behind Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies

The base of these cookies is what makes them so satisfying. Thanks to the banana, oats, flax seed and almond butter, they come out of the oven thick, chewy and dense.

Ripe Banana
I recommend using more of a ripe banana. Any banana that appears yellow or even slightly brown will work just fine. When a banana is on the greener side, it contains more starch. As the banana ripens, the starch begins to turn into sugar. That’s why yellow/brown bananas taste much sweeter than green bananas. The mashed banana helps bind the oats together to create a sweet flavor and sticky consistency. Bananas are full of vitamin c, magnesium and potassium, which are great for your muscles.

Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
The gluten-free rolled oats help these cookies bake into a thick, hearty cookie. The oats soak up liquid from the other ingredients and bake on a high temperature, which creates thick, chewy cookies instead of mushy piles of oatmeal. Oats are great for your health because they are high in fiber, calcium and carbohydrates. Fiber is great for your digestive system, calcium is amazing for building strong bones and carbohydrates convert into energy in which your body uses to take on the day!

Ground Flax Seed
Ground flax seed acts as an egg substitute in this recipe. Ground flax seed mixed with water creates a gel-like substance that gives these cookies the oomph they need to come out thick and dense. Flax seed is also high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for brain health.

Almond Butter
Creamy almond butter is full of healthy fats and oils, which give these cookies a nice moist, texture. Not to mention the amazing health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which are great for brain health, just like flax seed!


Engineering of an Oven

    We can’t make these delicious breakfast cookies without using an oven. So, let’s dive into what makes an oven so hot so that we can bake yummy recipes like this one.

    A traditional oven is pretty simple because the heat it produces comes from a large coiled wire. According to Glew Engineering, the coiled wire an oven uses to produce heat resists the flow of electricity and builds that energy. Once the energy increases to a large enough amount, it becomes heat, which in return creates a hot oven for you to bake with! We bake these Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit, which is the standard temperature for baking.


    Baking is an Art!

    How do you like to express your creativity? Do you like to draw, paint, take photos, sing, design? Well, did you know that baking/cooking is also a form of art?

    Making food in the kitchen is a fun way to express your creativity! You can experiment by combining a variety of flavors, colors, textures and more. With this specific recipe, you can even add toppings to make your cookies look more desirable. For example, I drizzled a little bit of creamy almond butter on top to create a fun zig-zag design. The light brown color from the almond butter and the white color from the shredded coconut gives this cookie a bit of contrast. This way, they look delectable and full of different flavors.

    What are some fun, yummy toppings you’d like to use on these cookies? Feel free to use cacao nibs, chocolate chips, fresh or dried berries, cinnamon, honey, bee pollen or others.


    Math and Baking

    Math and baking go hand-in-hand. You can’t bake without a basic understanding of math, so let’s go over some of the basics, shall we?

    When baking, many recipes will use fractions as a measurement. This is because fractions are used to represent the measurement in cups. Cups are a traditional way of measuring ingredients like flour, oats, water, etc.

    1 cup is equal to 8 ounces. Therefore, 1/2 cup is equal to 4 ounces.

    Can you tell me what 1/4 cup equals in ounces?

    If you said, 2 ounces, you’re correct! Which means 1/4 cup = 2oz.

    Within this recipe, it calls for 1/4 cup maple syrup, which means 1/4 of 1 whole cup. If you were to cut 1 whole cup into four, equal parts, 1/4 cup would make up one of those equal portions. Using fractions in this way can make math fun and delicious!


    Why You’ll Love This Recipe

    These Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies are full of clean, nourishing ingredients. They’re easy to make, ready in 25 minutes or less and can be enjoyed as breakfast or dessert! I love making this recipe on a Sunday and eating the cookies throughout the week. They satisfy my sweet tooth and fill me up! Each ingredient provides your body the nourishment it needs to take on the day. No sugar crash afterward!

    Head below for the recipe and visit the Navitas Organics Recipe Library for this and other deliciously simple superfood recipes to make with your littles.

    Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies Recipe

    Chocolate Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies Recipe

    INGREDIENTS

    2 Flax Eggs (4 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed whisked with 5 Tbsp Water)

    1 large ripe Banana, mashed

    1 tsp Vanilla Extract

    1/4 cup Maple Syrup

    2 Tbsp Almond Butter

    2 cups Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

    1/2 tsp Cinnamon

    1/2 tsp Sea Salt

    1/4 tsp Baking Soda

    1 Tbsp Navitas Organics Cacao Powder

    2 Tbsp Navitas Organics Cacao Sweet Nibs

    2 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

    DIRECTIONS

    Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup. In a small bowl, combine ground flax seed with water. Whisk and set aside for 5 minutes to congeal.

    In a separate medium-sized bowl, use a fork to mash your banana. Once you’ve mashed the entire banana into a mush, add your vanilla, maple syrup and almond butter. Whisk together until a smooth consistency appears and set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, sea salt, baking soda, cacao powder, cacao nibs and coconut. Whisk until well combined. Add to your bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Using a 1/3 size measuring cup, scoop out one at a time onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat this step until 5 more times for a total of 6 large cookies. Place baking sheet in oven to bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool for at least 5 minutes. Enjoy immediately with your favorite toppings or save for later. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or wrap in parchment paper and store in an airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months.

    Makes 6 large cookies