How Your Food Processor Can Help You Skip a Trip to the Store
Wow your kids by harnessing the kitchen’s handiest tool to make everything from powdered sugar to nut butter.
There’s nothing more maddening than starting to make a recipe, only to find you’re missing key ingredients. (Who wants to explain to your little kitchen helper that those peanut butter cookies will have to wait until you can get to the store?) But there’s an unlikely tool that might just save you from a drive to the market: your food processor. Many common ingredients are actually lightly processed versions of items you probably already have in your kitchen. Bonus: You can be sure that what you’re making at home is free of additives and preservatives!
If you keep bulk oats in your kitchen, you’ll never need to put oat flour on your shopping list. A quick blitz in the food processor and rolled oats turn into fine, whole-grain flour perfect for pancakes, muffins, and PB&J cookie bars. For each cup of toasty, nutty, oat flour, simply blend 1¼ cups rolled oats in your food processor for about three minutes. Kids can grab a pinch of flour at this point to feel if it’s smooth like powder or still gritty like sand—in which case, simply process a bit longer.
Ready to ditch the added oils, sugars, and flavorings in grocery-store nut butters? It’s super simple: Have your Little Sous measure three cups of nuts (raw or roasted—try almonds, peanuts, pecans, or walnuts) to the bowl of a food processor, then hit the blend button. Those nuts will turn into nut butter, which can take 10 minutes or more. Kids can watch the transformation in real time: First they’ll see the nuts break into flour, then start clumping into dough-like bits, then, suddenly, they’re looking at creamy, fresh nut butter.
If you’re making meatballs, need a coating for homemade fish sticks, or want to give your macaroni and cheese a crunchy, buttery topping, your food processor is your new bread-crumb buddy. Using stale bread is ideal, but you if you’re pressed for time, just make crumbs from fresh bread, then toast them in a 300° oven until golden. Have the kids help by tearing slices of bread into rough chunks, then pulse the bread in small batches in the food processor until it looks like sand. Kick up the flavor by adding savory, dried spices like garlic powder or herbs like parsley and oregano.
Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, powdered sugar is great for dusting over pastries and pancakes, and it adds light-as-air sweetness to icings. If you’ve got granulated sugar of any kind (cane sugar, turbinado sugar, or even coconut sugar), homemade powdered sugar is a snap. Simply add sugar to your food processor and blend until it becomes a fluffy, light powder. Give it a taste, and if it’s still a bit grainy, blend some more—it should take a few minutes to get the texture just right. For extra-fine powdered sugar, kids can sift the results through a fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining granules. (Storage tip: If you’re making more powdered sugar than you need for a single recipe, you can measure a teaspoon of cornstarch and blend it into the sugar to keep leftovers from clumping.)
Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking box that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!