It doesn't really matter how old you are, there's something immensely pleasurable about playing with soft, squishy dough - especially when it's still warm and has not long come out of the pot.
When my children were small, I cooked a huge batch of play dough on a weekly basis, sometimes daily.
We lived in a cul de sac at the time and, in that close-knit community, there were a dozen or so kiddies who popped in regularly. I would often send each of them home with a Chinese food container into which I had stuffed a soft ball of pink, blue, red or yellow dough.
School holidays are just a few weeks away (aren't they always?!), so it's fitting that I share my play dough recipe. I must admit I've been waiting ages to publish this, mostly because I do not yet have grandchildren and I couldn't find a little person whose mum or dad had time enough to bring them over for a play date and photo session. Hence, the stock image above.
I prefer to use cooked dough and natural food colouring made with fruit and vegetable extracts. Hoppers sell their range through health stores across Australia.
The more salt you use in the dough, the better. Not only is it a preservative, but it also seems to discourage the wee folk from eating it.
Make sure you've got a set of cookie cutters, rolling pins and a garlic press ready... and have fun!
COOKED PLAY DOUGH
2 cups plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
1 heaped cup cooking salt
2 cups cold water
4 level tablespoons cream of tartar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
a few drops natural food colouring (per instructions on pack)
Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan and, while mixing with a sturdy wooden spoon, cook over a low heat until the dough forms into a soft ball. You'll know it's ready as it won't be sticky to touch. Store the playdough in an airtight container. Discard the dough as soon as it begins to look grubby, or has dried out.
Tell me dear readers, have you ever made play dough? I bet you've played with it!
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.