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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday’s Toolbox

Tuesday's Toolbox button

This week’s tool is more of an activity to be supplemented with various tools from your kitchen: baking. Our favorite lesson with baking is fractions. You can make anything that can be divided into even pieces, the yummier the better. Monday we made Coconut Scones (stayed tuned for the recipe). OK, I’ve never heard of putting coconut in scones either, but boy were they good. And since you cut them into eight wedges (just like a pie), we did some fraction review. My 6-year-old figured out that 3/4 of 8 is 6 quite easily. For older children, give them some practice figuring out multiples of 8.

You can expand the lesson while measuring the ingredients. I typically have the children use smaller measures than the recipe calls for. For example, if it calls for 1 cup of flour, I might have them use a half cup and put in 2 half cups, or a quarter cup and put in 4 quarter cups. This reinforces how a quarter cup is one of four parts that add up to a full cup. (Filling the smaller cups is also either for little hands.) If you have measuring cups with metric equivalents, an older child can learn how to convert your recipe to metric measurements. Good for getting a handle on relative volumes.

Here’s the recipe for the scones (the base recipe comes from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, the coconut is my own addition, but the kids’ idea!):


  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup unbleached all-purpose and 3/4 cup white whole wheat)
  • 3 T sugar (I used Demerara washed raw sugar)
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt (I left this out)
  • 1/3 cup firm butter or margarine (I always use butter)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 4-6 T whipping (heavy) cream (I actually used milk)
  • additional cream (milk) to brush on top
  • decorating sugar (Demerara)
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, packed
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, 3 T sugar, the baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in egg, vanilla and just enough of the 4-6 T of cream so dough leaves side of bowl.
  3. Place dough on lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Knead lightly 10 times. On ungreased cookie sheet, pat dough into 8 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges with sharp knife dipped in flour, but do not separate wedges. Brush with additional whipping cream; sprinkle with sugar crystals.
  4. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove form cookie sheet; carefully separate wedges. Serve warm immediately.

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  1. this would probably work with unsweetened coconut too, coconut is excellent for children and adults -help to clean out the insides! Just in case you did not know.

  2. I know about the goodness of coconut oil. Butter is also good for you...did you know that many Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and part of the reason is because butter has been made out to be "bad" for you? I'd much rather consume a natural food like butter than an unnatural food like partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarine).


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