Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Non-Edible Baking

My daughter loves making sugar cookies, or any cookie that she can roll and cut. While it is a great dough to make up in large batches and to always have on hand, there are only so many sugar cookies we can eat and I get a little tired of them after a while.  As a solution to this problem I remembered a favorite craft project of mine from when I was little - salt dough. This is a great dough for kids to make on their own. It contains only three ingredients, all of which are pretty inexpensive, so it is a great recipe for kids to experiment with.  This weekend was our first attempt with it. I had a lot of other things going on and wasn't able to really work with the kids, so I set out all the ingredients and the recipe and put my son in charge. They all loved the freedom of being able to work without me hovering around them. Liam especially loved the power of being in charge, then again he always feels as if he is in charge, but that is a whole other blog. After all the ingredients were added the dough was a little wet, and they had a hard time working with it, but they did get a better consistency by playing around with the flour. My plan was for them to use the Christmas cutters and make ornaments to give as gifts, but as usual they had other plans and the call of The Force was too strong -  nothing says Merry Christmas like Darth Vader hanging on your tree. 

Salt Dough

2 cups Flour
1 cup Salt
1 cup cold Water
Food Coloring (optional)

Directions: In a large bowl, mix table salt and flour together. Gradually add 1/2 cup of water and mix to desired consistency. Knead the dough on a flat surface, adding a few more drops of water as needed (but not making it too moist).
Once the dough is made, divide it up into small portions.  If using food coloring you can add desired color to the small portions.  Using a rolling pin roll into 1/8" thick pieces.  Use cookie cutters to cut out a variety of shapes, and place the shapes on wax paper or other surface to dry. If you want to make hanging ornaments, pierce the dough through with a toothpick while it's wet.
To dry ornaments bake them in the oven at 200 degrees F until hard. Baking times varies depending on oven and dough thickness. Make sure the dough is completely baked. You can cover the dough with aluminum foil if it starts to darken before completely baked through.
Once dry onaments can be decorated using acrylic paints or glitter.  Finish ornaments by sealing on all sides with polyurethane spray or clear varnish to make them lasting gifts or keepsakes

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