I am always looking for new ways to keep my toddler busy and occupied. Toddler crafts are one of the best ways I have found so far to keep my twenty eight month old happy. However, I do not know about you, but there are only so many times I want to get the glue sticks out and have more paper stuck on my cloths than the project we are working on.
While my daughter loves to make cookies, she is really not that fond of eating the cookies afterward. That suits me fine because she does not need all that sugar. But yet my daughter absolutely adores cookie cutters and the process of cutting out the cookies.
I had been thinking about this for a while and wondering what would be a good way for her to use cookie cutters, something we could do once a week or so, that would allow her the fun of cutting out the shapes, but would not involve making cookies that she will not eat and my waist line does not need.
It dawned on me a few months ago, that my daughter loves to eat bread and rolls. When I was young my mother used to make bread shapes. She would mix up this yeast dough recipe, divide the dough in half and plop one half down in front of my brother and one in front of me.
My mom would then go about getting done whatever she needed to do while we literally spent hours making various shapes out of the bread dough. We would make snakes and snails, roll out long snakes and coil them up into baskets, make snowmen out of stacks of balls, the possibilities are endless.
And then when we were all done and placed the shapes on cookie sheets, it only took a few minutes to bake them and then we would sit down and eat them for snack or dinner, with butter and jam. I do not remember ever using cookie cutters, but why not?
I sat my daughter down one day after mixing up the dough and gave her a chunk. I rolled it out to about a ½ inch thick and gave her the cookie cutters. She had a blast cutting out all her favorite shapes. The best bit is she ate them too after they were done being baked.
I have since started using some of the roll recipes that came with my bread machine, I just put it on the dough cycle a couple of hours before we want to make bread shapes. My daughter still has a blast and we just have funky shaped critters to eat with dinner.
However if you do not have a bread machine, or do not want to wait the 1 ½ – 2 hours it takes to use the dough cycle, here is the recipe my mom used when she made the bread shapes for us.
Recommended reading: our Ultimate Guide to the Best Bread Machines
You can substitute some of flour for whole wheat or bread flour, just play with it and see what you and your kids like.
- 1 package dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 4 cups flour (all purpose, bread, whole wheat or any combination there of)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons salt (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
- Mix the other ingredients in a separate bowl with a hand mixer.
- Add the yeast.
- Knead until smooth.
- Divide up among your kids (this dough easily makes enough to keep four kids happy) and let them create. Or roll out and let them use cookie cutters.
- Place the finished shapes on cookie sheets (it is a good idea to have one sheet for thinner smaller pieces and one for the bigger thicker pieces, since they will cook at slightly different rates).
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap them.
- Serve with butter and jam.
And enjoy the fun of trying to identify the shapes as well as getting to eat off heads, arms, and other tasty bits!
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