Welcome to Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly set of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.
This week’s edition of Kitchen Classroom features Cooking for You. Using only a few ingredients, kids can make homemade Buttermilk-Ranch Pita Chips to enjoy on their own or use to scoop up their favorite dip. The recipe comes from our latest cookbook, “The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs!” This week’s Learning Moment is all about anagrams: How many words can your young chef make using the letters in Buttermilk-Ranch? Then, kids can learn the interesting history behind ranch dressing in Take It Further.
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Cooking for You:
Buttermilk-Ranch Pita Chips
This beginner-friendly recipe takes America’s most popular dressing flavor out of the dip and onto the chip! Kids can make these pita chips as an after-school snack to enjoy on their own or with the dip of their choice — yes, even ranch! Kids can substitute whole-wheat pita bread for plain pita bread, or use vegetable oil or melted butter instead of the olive oil depending on what you’ve got on hand. (P.S. Ranch-averse kids might enjoy Plain Pita Chips or Chili-Spiced Pita Chips instead.
What You’ll Need:
2 (8-inch) pita breads
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon packaged buttermilk-ranch seasoning powder
You can use whole-wheat pita bread, if you like. You can also substitute vegetable oil or melted butter for the olive oil.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Use kitchen shears to cut around edge of each pita to separate into 2 thin rounds.
Working with 1 pita round at a time, use pastry brush to brush rough side generously with oil. Sprinkle evenly with buttermilk-ranch seasoning powder.
Stack pita rounds and place on cutting board. Use chef’s knife to cut the stack of pitas in half from top to bottom and then again from side to side. You should now have four same-size, triangle-shaped pieces, or 8 equal wedges.
Keep pieces together in circle and cut on diagonal through middles of triangles. You are cutting each large triangle in half to produce eight smaller, equally sized triangles.
Transfer pita wedges to rimmed baking sheet and spread into single layer, oiled side up. Place baking sheet in oven. Bake until wedges are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 18 minutes.
Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let pita chips cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes. Serve. (Pita chips can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.)
Variations: For plain pita chips, use 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt instead of buttermilk-ranch seasoning powder. For Chili-spiced pita chips, combine 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a small bowl. In step 3 of the recipe, use the chili mixture instead of salt.
Learning Moment Language Arts (Vocabulary):
As the pita chips are baking, kids can play an anagram word game using the letters in the recipe title. Explain to kids that an anagram is the rearrangement of the letters of a word, name, phrase, or sentence into a new word or phrase. (Exact anagrams use all the letters in the given word, but you can also make words using just a few of the letters in the given word.) Ask kids: How many unique words can you make using the letters in the words buttermilk, ranch, and Buttermilk-Ranch? What is the longest word you can spell?.
Take It Further Social Studies (Culture, History):
Ranch is America’s favorite dressing by a long shot. Today’s ranch is a little different from the original recipe, which was mixed up fresh instead of being bottled like the ranch dressing you can find on grocery store shelves now. While they wait for their pita chips to cool, encourage kids to imagine where the flavor might have come from, or why it’s called “ranch.” Ask kids if they can guess some of the ingredients they taste in the buttermilk-ranch flavoring on their chips (you can check the ingredient list on the packet to see if they’re right!).
As they enjoy their chips, kids can find out more about the man who created the original recipe for ranch dressing by going online to watch a video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHD5YRT3kqU.