Parks and Rec. cooking up holiday delight

By Amy Filippone, Department of Parks & Recreation

Are your Thanksgiving plans already underway? The Parks and Recreation Department can help. The Community Kitchen on the third floor of the Church Street Recreation Center is a fully equipped commercial grade kitchen. If you don’t have time to bake pies or were thinking of ordering them — consider having your second through tenth grader take one of the Thanksgiving pie baking classes offered right before the holiday. Each participant will take home two traditional, scratch-made pies. Other delectable culinary classes are also offered this fall to celebrate the flavors of autumn and Halloween. All pantry items are generously donated by Wegmans.

Chef Katie Sklarow has been teaching culinary classes at the Rec Department for the past four years.

“I grew up here in the community, and it’s really great to see all the after school programs at the Rec. flourishing so much,” Sklarow said. “They didn’t have culinary classes when I was in middle school. It’s just cool to see the evolution of all the programs and to see kids as young as second and third grade getting involved in the kitchen, touching their fruits and vegetables, working with scratch recipes. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I had started taking cooking classes at that young an age. It’s a great opportunity for kids, and it’s such an important life skill.”

Start the short autumn season with “Autumn Spice Baking” for grades three through seven that will explore the vibrant classic autumn spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The class will take place on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Apple cobbler, pumpkin truffles, ginger snap cookies and pumpkin spice muffins will be prepared and taken home.

For chocolate lovers in second through fifth grades, “Chocolate Favorites” is on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Kids will prepare classic rich creamy brownies and mix up their own batch of chocolate chip cookies. They’ll learn the nuances of baking and how changing the ingredients slightly will make very different cookies.

“Halloween Treats” is also for second through fifth graders. Have some ghoulish fun making chocolate mousse Halloween parfaits and rice krispie monsters with eyeballs. This three-hour workshop is offered on Oct. 25 and Oct. 28 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Thanksgiving pie baking classes are three hours long. Pie dough and filling will be made from scratch for both pumpkin and apple cinnamon pies. Dates are as follows: Nove. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. for grades two to six; Nov. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. for grades five to ten; Nov. 26 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. for grades two to six and Nov. 27 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. from grades three to eight.

Class sizes are limited, so register early at www.moorestownrec.com