Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Playdough Cookies

Pretty, huh?

It's been a busy, busy few weeks. We went on a family vacation to Disney World and we are gearing up for the Birthday/Holiday season around here. (My daughter, her dad, my mom, three nieces, a cousin or two, and my bestie's bun in the oven all have birthdays in December!) Be on the lookout for the cute things I'm determined to try and get done this year. As usual, I am totally behind in my plans and feeling overwhelmed. I am going to spend the next couple of days organizing, making lists, and getting all my online stuff ordered so I can concentrate on the fun stuff! There may or may not be baby footballs, kids capes, painted wineglasses, an ornament wreath, and oodles of cookies coming soon. I'll try to stay on top of it, I promise. 

Back to today's post. The Munchkin and I made these play-dough cookies a while back. They are so much fun and we will probably be making some holiday inspired variations soon (I'm thinking candy canes would be perfect for this!). These cookies are sooo much fun, they really feel like play dough when you work with them, we did simple swirls, but you can roll out the dough and cut them out or shape them, like sugar cookies, only better. You can also add some sprinkles or sugar for that pixie dust look. I used a recipe I found on www.allrecipes.com, I'll post it here so you don't have to jump around. 


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • assorted colors of paste food coloring

First things first, be sure to account for the chill time. I have found, and you may be able to relate, that young children are not the most patient bunch of folks. It may even be easier to make the dough and tint it the night before and let it rest overnight, then when your kiddos are ready you can just get to the fun stuff. 

-Combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Cream until fluffy. (I used my kitchen aide, if you don't have a stand mixer you may want to use a hand mixer. It's possible to do this with a bowl and spoon, but your arms will thank you if you have some gadget help available.) Add your egg and the vanilla and beat until smooth. 
-In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to your mixer.  Mix slowly until a soft dough forms. 
-Divide your plain dough into bowls (one bowl for each color) and add your paste food color. I use Wilton's paste food colors because they are so easy to find at all my local craft stores. Regular liquid food colors will work, but they will not have the same intensity of color as the paste options. 
**Kneading the color in to the dough will give you the best results, however you should don gloves lest your hands (or the kiddos' hands) turn rainbow colors that take at least 24 hours to scrub off.

The Munchkin chose orange, teal, pink, and purple for ours

-Now that you've tinted your dough, wrap each color in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. (I know some people cheat and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes, but that always comes back to bite me in the butt so I don't anymore)

Gloves are your friend!
Our dough, ready to chill
-Now your dough is all ready to go, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 
-Like I said before, you can do a lot with these. If you want to make the rainbow swirlies we did, just take a small (about 1") ball of each color and smash them into one larger ball. Then roll it out like making a play-dough snake and curl into a spiral. You can also add a lollipop stick at this point, just dip the end into some egg whites for extra support. 
-The size of your creations will determine how long you need to bake yours. For mine, I only needed about 8 minutes per batch. The bottoms should be SLIGHTLY brown, any more than slightly and you'll end up with crunchy cookies. I don't know about you, but I prefer mine just this side of un-baked. 
-Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. They didn't last long enough for me to give you any idea how long they'll keep, sorry. 
The munchkin had a blast making and eating these!

I think the less perfect ones are more "play-dough" looking. Plus, those are the ones that the Munchkin made, so they are automatically my favorites! I can't wait to see what you come up with! Send me pics! Send me emails!

Happy Tuesday!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Candies

Frank, Ghosts, & Skulls
I'm really started to get excited about Halloween this year. I have mixed feelings about Halloween, or at least the Halloween we celebrate now. It makes me more than a little sad and, sometimes, angry about the costumes that we see. It's even worse now as a parent, there are so many costumes available for kids that are so inappropriate. On the other hand, I love all the beautiful, meaningful, well thought out costumes and decorations and confections. We have a big trip coming up and, like a lot of people, money is tight. I just don't have the budget to do much beyond a few simple have-on-hand crafts with the Munchkin, like the Spiders and Ghosts that we just did. I have a couple more that we will try a little closer to the big day. Last year we made these fun candies, though. I thought I could share these for now.

Aren't the Frank's Handsome?

To make these you'll need:
-white, black, and green candy melts
(you could also use all white and add gel coloring)
- candy molds
- candy flavors (optional)
- food markers (optional)

I was able to purchase everything I needed at a local bakery supply shop, but I know that all of these items are available at the big craft stores, M and the lobby, so you can make them too. All I did was melt the candies according to the package instructions and fill the molds. If you want to add flavors, add them while you melt the candies. I used a paintbrush to cover each mold with a layer of candy before I poured in the rest to fill them up. I found that this helped eliminate some of the air bubbles that get trapped. I also used a smaller paint brush for the frankenstein pops so I could be more precise about the hair line. Once the mold is full and the sticks are in, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or if you are impatient like me, the freezer for 10 minutes works nicely too). Once they set, pop them out on a layer of wax paper or parchment for finishing touches! I used a black food writer to make the scar on Frank's head a little more prominent and a couple of the ghosts got colored in faces, sorry I didn't take a pic of those. I like the Wilton markers, but I have heard some rumors that there are other food marker brands that work better on the candy melt surfaces. If I get the inclination for a side by side test, I'll let y'all know! In the meantime, I'm racking my brain for some more fun Halloween crafts to do with the Munchkin.