Announcement: Baked Orange Cauliflower
Oct 3rd, 2021 by Alex Koster

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Recently I’ve been trying to find healthier recipes that don’t use as much meat but are still easy to prepare. I was in the mood for orange chicken and decided to try and replicate it with cauliflower, I used Simply Health Kitchen’s recipe and it was both easy, and fun to make.

  • To make the actual cauliflower you cut it into bite size pieces ( this is honestly based on preference but I made mine smaller so they would be crispier), then set up a work station of sorts, one bowl with panko crumbs, one with a whisked egg, one with the cauliflower and a lined baking sheet. The prep might seem like a lot but I promise it’s worth it and makes everything much easier. Start by dipping one cauliflower floret into the whisked egg, then dip it into the panko crumb, the egg should make the panko stick onto the cauliflower but you can alway use your fingers to help coat it. Once you do that to all the florets, bake them at 400F for about 15-20 min.

Okay, now for the orange sauce, I followed the recipe and actually made the sauce and though it tasted good, I would recommend just buying an orange sauce, because the flavors can be really hard to replicate when you’re trying to make it at home. But in case you do want to make it here are the steps:

  • Whisk together orange juice, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, sriracha, ginger and garlic and pour it into a sauce pan, bring it to a low boil, stirring constantly. The recipe says to add a water-cornstarch mixture to thicken but I found that that made the sauce clumpy, so instead I recommend slowly adding plain cornstarch while whisking, until you get the consistency you want (about 2 tbsp).

Then just put some of the orange sauce on the cauliflower and you’re done! One great thing about the recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile, you can serve it with whatever you have: I personally used leftover quinoa, but have made it with rice and beans.

Announcement: Copycat Levain Cookies
Aug 18th, 2021 by Alex Koster

If you’re a foodie and live in NYC you’ve probably had the famed Levain bakery cookies. Today I made them and they taste nearly identical to Levain’s. To make this surprisingly simple recipe you will need: 1 cup cold butter cut up, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 & 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 & 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups chopped walnuts. 


To start preheat the oven to 410 degrees then cream the butter and sugars till creamy. Then add the eggs and mix, meanwhile combine the dry ingredients (flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt), then stir into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Scoop onto a baking tray and bake for 9-12 minutes, then let them set for 10 minutes.

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  • If you don’t have cake flour you can make it by measuring 1 cup of flour, removing 2 tablespoons of it and replacing the removed flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Walnuts are optional
  • If you want you can add 1 tsp vanilla extract with the eggs
  • We made pretty big ones so they were more similar to the Levain ones but you can adjust the size.


Puffed Apple Pancake
Mar 15th, 2021 by Alex Koster

Puffed Apple Pancake is a fairly simple yummy Saturday morning treat that doesn’t take much effort and is perfect if you have extra apples that may be close to going bad. After cooking the apples in cinnamon sugar, an egg mixture gets poured on top, then the mix gets baked until it puffs up and is ready to serve. The more specific recipe that we use is below, but of course, tweaking it by adding more cinnamon or sugar is always an option:)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Peel and slice 4 apples
  3. Mix ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and 5 tbsp sugar (adjust for preference).
  4. Combine the sugar mixture and the sliced apples
  5. Melt 6 tbsp of butter in a shallow pan or skillet, remove 2 tbsp butter and set aside in a bowl.
  6. Add apples to the remaining 4 tbsp of butter
  7. Cook at medium heat until apples are tender but still hold their shape.
  8. In a separate bowl combine 3 eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ cup of all-purpose flour, ½ cup milk, and the 2 tbsp melted butter  (previously set aside)
  9. Beat until smooth
  10. Spread apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet and pour the batter on top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffy.
  11. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy
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Sunday, February 14, 2021: Valentine’s Day Cookies
Feb 17th, 2021 by Alex Koster

Welcome to, a website my brother Max and I started five years ago to share our thoughts about food and cooking and helping hungry people.  It’s also a digital cookbook for our family to make sure we remember the meals we love (as well as the ones that didn’t work out so well…)

To learn more about the website, scroll down a few posts to About KidsCookDinner.  But to see what we are cooking today, stay right here.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to make Valentine’s Day cookies as my valentine to my family.  I used a traditional sugar cookie recipe (this one is based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her cookbook, Feast) and then go crazy with the frosting.


Ingredients are as follows:

  • 12 ounces softened butter (unsalted if possible, if not, reduce salt by 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The first step is to make sure the butter is soft so it’s easy to cream.  If you want to take a shortcut you can microwave it, but for no more than 15 seconds.  It needs to be soft, not melted.

Then you cream the sugar into the butter and beat it till it is well blended and pale yellow.


Beat the egg and the vanilla, and add to the butter mix.

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Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir with a whisk


Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and stir well. The dough will be pretty stiff and crumbly.

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Form into two balls and flatten into discs.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (the dough needs to rest.)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then roll out the first ball of dough and cut your cookies out and place on greased tray (or one with a silpat).  I mainly cut out hearts but I threw in a few frogs in the valentine spirit of frogs being kissed and turning into princes.  Put the cut-out cookies in the fridge while you roll out the second disk of dough and cut shapes from that disk.

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Bake until just light gold around the edges and let cool completely. Watch carefully so you don’t burn them!


(Now the fun part).  After the cookies are cooled, get your frosting and decorations ready.  I used 2 cans of store-bought white vanilla frosting, mixing red gel color into one.  We also had assorted sprinkles and M&Ms to decorate.


Max even helped frost, but I think that was mainly so he could eat the ones he over-frosted.




January 2, 2021: New Year’s Train Cake
Jan 9th, 2021 by Alex Koster

Happy New Year and welcome to, a website my brother Max and I (Alex) started 5 years ago to post about food, kids’ cooking, and the serious issue of hunger in the world.  Unfortunately, the need for hunger relief has only gotten worse since then, so if you have time, check out Action Against Hunger’s website here.  To see what we cooked today, read on.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Max is pretty busy with his college applications so I have been doing most of the holiday baking.

One of our annual traditions is a holiday train cake.  The end result is cute and delicious but this does take all day to make.  Here’s a teaser photo of the end result.


Here are the ingredients: the most interesting one is sour cream.  I was very skeptical about including it, but it made the cake very light and fluffy.



  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

The other key element is a train cake mold.  Mom got our mold from Williams & Sonoma maybe 8 years ago: it’s really cute with 9 cars, including an engine, coal car, and caboose.  When we were younger, we pretended it was the Polar Express.  The recipe is from W&S as well.

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The first step is to preheat the oven and grease and flour the cake pan (this is tricky because there is so much detail, but super important, otherwise you will lose those details when you flip the cake out.  The second step is to sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and, in a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, sour cream, 4 eggs, and vanilla.


Then with an electric beater (using flat beater if you have it), gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low till the dry stuff is just moistened.


Scrape down the bowl and increase speed to medium for 30 seconds.  Make sure everything is combined but don’t overbeat.

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Then per the W&S recipe you are supposed to divide the batter in half and set half of it aside.  (Then after you’ve cooked the first half of the batter, and the mold has cooled and been cleaned and greased and floured, you cook the second half of the batter.  From prior experience, we know that 9 cars are a lot of train cars to decorate so we decided to make cupcakes instead of 9 more cake cars.) Anyway, once the batter is complete, you spread it evenly in each car mold and bake 18-22 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).


Do not, do not fill the molds all the way up as we did. The recipe says to spread the batter so it reaches the top edges of each mold with the batter a little lower in the center of the mold….that is what we tried to do (see photo below) but this is still too much batter.  We found out the hard way.


As you can see, this resulted in overflowing cake cars.


Fortunately, I was able to slice off the extra cake with a large bread knife (which left us with good snacks while we waited for the cake to cool).  You should let the cake cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then invert and let cool for at least an hour before frosting.

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When I finally flipped the pan, I was delighted.


Once the cakes were cooled, I mixed up red, green, and white frosting and got out holiday sprinkles and M&Ms. The M&M are ideal for the train wheels.


Then it was frosting time.

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And here’s the final, full train cake — it tasted great.


PS: the cupcakes turned out nicely as well and were a little easier to decorate. 🙂

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December 25, 2020: Merry Christmas! Yuletide Log
Dec 26th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Merry Christmas and welcome to, a website my brother Max and I (Alex) started in 2015 to share our love of cooking and encourage more kids to cook.   To learn more about the website, scroll down a few posts.

To see what we cooked today, stay right here.

Today, I (Alex) am doing the cooking or at least the baking.  Max is busy finishing his college applications and mom is cooking most of the other parts of Christmas dinner, so I took on the fun job of making dessert.  Yuletide Log, or Buche Noel, is our traditional Christmas dessert, and Max’s favorite, so I decided to make it.  The batter is a traditional light sponge cake but the frosting is unusual and delicious (we use a raw egg yolk!).  The first step is to make a sponge cake.

Here are the ingredients for the cake:


After you butter and flour a 15 inch shallow pan, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees, you need to separate the eggs and mix 1/2 cup flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder.


Next step is  beat the 4 egg yolks with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until they are a thick, lemon-colored consistency. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat till dissolved.


After thoroughly cleaning the beaters, you then beat the 4 egg whites till soft peaks form.  Then add 1/3 cup sugar and beat till stiff peaks form.


Gently fold the egg yolk mix into the egg white mix (I first mixed 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolks to lighten them, and then folded the yolk mix into the whites mix). Once that’s combined, sprinkle the flour mix on top of the batter and again, gently fold in until just combined.


Spread the batter over your buttered pan and bake for 15 minutes until just light brown and the cake springs back when you touch it.


Loosen from tray immediately and place on a clean dishtowel sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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Gently roll up in the towel, and let cool in that position.


When the cake is cooled unroll from the towel, and prepare to frost!


I think the frosting is the most unique thing about this cake: it’s certainly the tastiest.  Ingredients are:

  • 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of cognac or rum (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk.

Melt the chocolate and once cooled, cream in the softened butter. Then add the vanilla and, if you choose (and the frosting is not too liquid), add the cognac or rum.  Finally, mix in the raw egg yolk.  I didn’t add the cognac because the frosting seemed liquid enough and I didn’t want to thin it out too much. If you are worried about the raw egg yolk, you can leave it out; the frosting just won’t be as rich or glossy, but it will still taste good.

Then you spread 1/3 of the frosting on the cake and roll it up.


Then you frost the outside (and the ends).

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The final step is to take the back of a fork and run lines down the frosting (to make it look like bark).  Then into the fridge the roll goes so the frosting can harden.


Just before serving, I like to decorate it with holiday figures.  Although the plastic deer on top is out of proportion, it’s an important holiday feature (we have so many deer around our house that we like to include them (symbolically) in our Christmas celebration.)

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(Here’s our friendly fawn, about 4 feet away from our house this morning, considering whether or not to eat our holly bush…seriously, that can’t taste good!)


Finally, in case you’re wondering, here’s the rest of the holiday feast prepared by mom: roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted Brussel sprouts and English peas. Merry, Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 19, 2020: Snow Ball Cookies
Dec 25th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Hi, welcome to KidsCookDinner.  To read what we’re cooking today, stay right here.  Or, to learn more about this site and how it started, scroll down.  And happy holidays!

This is Alex.  Today, in honor of the official start of winter coming up (December 21) and the huge snowstorm NYC received on Thursday, I decided to make Snow Ball cookies (also known as Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes or Pecan Balls.) Ingredients are straightforward: butter, powdered sugar, pecans, flour, salt, vanilla, and the recipe is surprisingly simple….just several steps.


After you preheat the oven to 350 degrees, you need to chop the pecans: I decided to chop them finely because I don’t like big chunks of pecans. But that’s a personal choice.  You can also use walnuts if you prefer.


You need 1 cup of chopped pecans.


Next step is to cream 1 cup butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar; once creamed, add the vanilla.


The next step is to mix the flour and salt and add, along with the chopped pecans, to the butter/sugar mix.  The dough is very stiff and dry.  I used a spoon to do the final mixing.

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Then you shape them into small balls and cook for 15 minutes, or until light gold.  You don’t want to over cook as they are pretty fragile.


As soon as you remove them from the oven you roll them gently in powdered sugar and let cool.  Do be careful rolling, I pressed a little hard and the cookie exploded.  Once they are cool,  you roll them again in powdered sugar.  The recipe said this would take 1/3 cup powdered sugar but I probably used a cup (I do like sugar).  In any event, the end result was delicious.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020: GIVING DAY
Dec 1st, 2020 by Alex Koster

Today is Giving Day! Don’t forget to give to a worthy charity today, if you can. We are giving to Action Against Hunger.

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Even loose change helps!

Friday, September 18, 2020: Homemade Bagels
Sep 28th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to  To learn more about our website and how my brother Max and I started cooking, scroll down a few posts.  To find out what I (Alex) am cooking, please stay right here.

Today I felt like New York bagels but we are not in NYC so I decided to make my own.  Ingredients are pretty simple: flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar, and luckily we had some good toppings in the cupboard (sesame seeds and Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel mix).


The process isn’t difficult but there are quite a few steps.  The first one was to proof the yeast by combining it with warm water and sugar.  This usually takes about 5 minutes, so while that was going on, I combined the flour and salt and made a well for the yeast mixture.

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Once the 5 minutes as up and the yeast was activated, I poured it into the dry mix.

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Then I had to mix everything together and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  It was very stiff: I got a good arm workout!


After that, I let the dough rise till it doubled (about an hour) and then punched it down.  That was satisfying.

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Then I split the dough into 8 pieces, rolled each one into a ball, and then made a hole in the center of each ball to make the bagel shape.

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The next step was weird but apparently essential: I cooked each bagel in boiling water for 1 minute each side.


After that, it was time to top them (with sesame or everything bagel mix) and put in the oven to bake.


20 minutes later, I had fresh NYC bagels!



August 24, 2020: Tiramisu!
Sep 9th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Today I (Alex) woke up with a yearning for tiramisu.  I convinced Max that we needed to make it and then convinced my mom to drive to the closest grocery store to get the ingredients.   Tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert made up of ladyfingers dipped in coffee with layers of a whipped mixture of cream, vanilla, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, with cocoa powder sprinkled on top.  (Ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese are not something we usually have in our pantry, so that’s why I needed mom’s help.)  Here are the ingredients:


So the first step was to whip the cream, sugar, and mascarpone cheese together.


The next step was to soak the ladyfingers in coffee (the recipe called for coffee and coffee liqueur, but my mom nixed the liqueur.)

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Then it was time to layer: first the soaked ladyfingers, then the whipped mix, then ladyfingers, then whipped mix, and then, finally cocoa powder on top.

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Then we had to let it sit for four hours. (Are you kidding me?) we definitely cut that timeline short to try it.




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