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Chemistry can be one of the most enjoyable topics to teach young children. "What?!" you say. Yes it can! There are many activities to demonstrate chemistry and chemical reactions that are both fun and educational … and in this case, edible.
An Edible Chemical Reaction
4 egg whites
2 cups sugar
Blue food coloring*
Cream of tartar
Plastic ziploc bag or plastic pastry or frosting bag
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they become frothy.
3. Beat in the cream of tartar at medium speed.
4. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar.
5. When soft peaks form, add one tablespoon of sugar and beat on high speed.
6. When stiff peaks form, continue to gradually add the remaining sugar while continuing to beat the mixture.
7. Add a couple of drops of food coloring.
8. Beat the mixture until it is very stiff and glossy.
9. Pour the mixture into the plastic bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag. Squeeze the bag to make small mounds of mixture on a cookie sheet.
10. Bake your “clouds” for one hour.
What happens? The runny, slimy egg whites became big and fluffy and solid after you beat and baked them.
Why? When you beat the eggs, you were forcing air molecules inside the mixture. The more air molecules, the more foamy the eggs became. When you pout your “clouds” in the oven, the heat made the air bubbles get even bigger. The heat also caused another chemical reaction that caused the egg whites to become solid.
*You can use blue food coloring to simulate clouds; however, please feel free to experiment with various colors. By using green food coloring and a pastry tip on your bag, you can make edible grass. By using yellow you could make suns. These variations in color, and a little imagination, lends this science/cooking experiment to many different studies and subjects.