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Teens cook up brownies from scratch

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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Because sweets are an integral part of Valentine’s Day, this year, the Dover Town Library (DTL) decided that they would let their teens bake brownies and decorate them for the holiday on Friday afternoon. But while plenty of places will let you frost a pre-made sugar cookie with pink icing or throw a candy heart on a prepackaged piece of pound cake, the DTL had kids making brownies from scratch.

Using ingredients like butter, cocoa, flour, a bottle of real vanilla, chocolate chips and espresso powder, the kids measured, mixed and made the brownies in a convection oven. Why not use a mix? Because Miss Debbie, the woman that was running the class, wants kids to understand where the flavors come from - even if they don’t stick to baking things from scratch in the future.

“I really enjoy working at the libraries,” she explained. “I go all over the state and offer classes because it’s fun. I’ve been doing it for a while now, so if people see that it’s Miss Debbie, they know the cooking is going to be from scratch. I really want the kids to know where things come from, so it may be basic recipes, but with everything being packaged these days, at least the kids know, even if they still go to packages later, where things are supposed to come from.”

While it must have been tough to watch the kids bulldoze the subtle vanilla flavoring and slight bitterness of the espresso chips by covering their brownies with pink M&M’s and other, colorful candy decorations, it was clear they were having a good time.

A few kids look on as the whisk is cleaned with a spatula.

A few kids look on as the whisk is cleaned with a spatula.

There were, of course, many more straightforward crafts the library could have had the kids doing - making paper Valentines or knitting little hearts, for example. Angie Howes explained, though, that the kids had wanted to do a cooking class. And, because of the connection between the holiday and sugary confections, it seemed like the perfect time.

“When people think of Valentine’s Day, they think of sugar and chocolate,” Howes explained. “I thought it would be a great way for the teens to celebrate by coming out and baking some gorgeous brownies. We had a group of teens that requested a cooking program, because they really wanted to learn how to cook, so I heard about Miss Debbie and thought she’d be a really good fit. So far, she’s proving me right.”

Howes said that because it was so clear the kids were enjoying themselves and the program seemed like such a success, it’s something they would definitely be pursuing in the future.

“This is the first cooking program we’ve had since I’ve been here. I think we’ll definitely do more and have Miss Debbie back, because she offers stuff like Italian cooking classes - and not just for teens, but for kids and adults, too. So, I think we’ll definitely have her back.”

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