Inside: Homemade chocolate frogs that are simple, healthy, and delicious. This is one magical treat you won’t mind indulging in with your little Harry Potter fans. Scroll down for the states of matter and the science behind chocolate.
From the moment I read the first children’s book that mentioned food with my first child, I saw an opportunity — an opportunity to expose my kid to a wider range of foods in a fun way.
If you have kids. you know how cautious they can be about trying something new. Right?
The first book about food we read was The Stone Soup, and I immediately made a pot of simple vegetable soup and served it for dinner. Even though it was a decade ago, I still remember the eagerness my very conservative child showed in trying completely new food because the characters in the book all thought it was a big deal. The soup didn’t become a favorite, but that’s okay.
Since then, we’ve read hundreds of books and tried many exciting and novel recipes. We made a stew with Boxcar Children, green eggs with Dr. Seuss, and chocolate turtles with Anansi. We baked, grilled, boiled, and whipped.
And as you can imagine, as soon as we read about chocolate frogs in the Harry Potter books, we knew we wanted to recreate them at home.
If you’ve never made chocolate at home, let me tell you, it’s super easy. All you need is a couple of ingredients. You melt them, mix them, and let them harden for a few hours. Done!
Here are some reasons you will enjoy making DIY chocolate with your kids.
- have fun together.
- learn together.
- get kids excited about cooking.
- teach kids important life skills.
- laugh about chocolate on your noses as you lick stirring spoons.
- learn some science: the states of matter and the nature of matter.
- eat yummy, homemade chocolate.
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Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs
What you need (for one mold)
Cocoa butter ½ cup (food grade)
Cocoa powder ½ cup
Honey ¼ cup
(Optional) Vanilla ½ tsp
Other optional additions: chopped nuts, orange zest, and mint extract.
If you want to make milk chocolate, add a tablespoon of dry milk.
double boiler or pot for melting
Grater if you use a large block of cocoa butter
What to do
- Grate the cocoa butter. Note: you can buy cocoa butter in big solid lumps or little bits. I can never figure out how to get half a cup of cocoa butter from the large chunk without cutting my fingers, so I use a grater. If you are going to grate it, too, make sure that the cup is tightly packed. It’s very important. If you don’t pack it tightly, your final chocolate will not easily slide out of the molds.
- Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, put a bowl with cocoa butter on top of a small pan with an inch of water in the bottom (make sure your bowl doesn’t touch the water).
- Once the cocoa butter melts, add honey, cocoa powder, and vanilla.
- Stir until smooth and pour into molds. That’s it!
- Let it stand a few hours at room temperature or cover it tightly with plastic wrap (or put the molds inside plastic bags) and put it in the fridge. Note: if you don’t cover it, the surface of your chocolate will get a white tint.
The Science Behind Chocolate
This recipe will acquaint kids with the fact that there are different states of matter.
Matter is everything around us.
If we look around, we will notice that not all things are the same. The kitchen sink is solid. The water running out of a faucet is liquid. And the air around is gas. Matter has distinctive physical forms.
In extreme environments, there are other states like plasma, but today we are going to talk only about the three basic states of matter — solid, liquid, and gas.
The stuff around us is made of three types of matter, and some things can change among these states, depending on temperature. Making DIY chocolate offers a great opportunity to observe that first hand.
Get out the cocoa butter and explain that it’s solid. Be sure your kids’ hands are clean, and let them poke it and try to pinch it. After you melt the cocoa butter, bring your kids’ attention to the fact that it became liquid. It’s going to be hot, so don’t stick your fingers in it, but scoop it up with a spoon and let it flow back into a pan. Anything that flows or runs like water is a liquid. Some liquid, like maple syrup, may flow slowly, but it still flows.
After you mix all the ingredients, pour the mixture into molds. Point out that it still flows easily and takes the shape of the molds.
After you leave the filled molds alone for a few hours, the chocolate hardens and becomes a solid. What changed? The temperature of our mixture lowered. Try biting and chewing it. It definitely doesn’t act like liquid anymore!
Ask your kids if the chocolate is a liquid or a solid. They might tell you that it can be both. Point out that scientifically speaking, the question about the states of matter refers to the present state of the material.
Everything in our lives is made of matter. All solids, liquids, and gases are referred to as matter. We separate matter into three fundamental states — solids, liquids, or gases. In your kitchen, ask kids to identify something solid, something liquid, and something that is gas. Talk about different components of our body that are solid, liquid, or gas.
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