Today I had barely finished mentioning making play dough and my little Lulu had already retrieved her apron.
Now, I have always been a fan of the 2:1:1 recipe (2 parts flour to 1 part salt and 1 part water). It’s fast, it’s easy, and it really only requires having two ingredients on hand. I’ve used it through many, many years of babysitting, nannying, and teaching without even considering giving another recipe a try. That is, until I decided to give this “fussy” recipe a go this Christmas. Yes, it requires both oil and cream of tartar – not to mention cooking – but if you’ve got the ingredients, extra time, and patience to let it cool, it’s totally worth it. It’s soft, super pliable, and lasts for a ridiculously long time. Plus, it’s really not that hard.
Here’s what you need: Some flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, water, food colouring, and a cute little sous chef to help you along the way.
First things first, pour your water in a large pot.
Next, add your salt. Preferably into the pot. But hey, whatever works.
Then, add your cream of tartar.
And your food colouring. (Of course for this little one, purple was the colour of choice.) Give everything a little stir.
Then, over medium heat, warm the mixture until hot, but not boiling.
When hot, add your oil and your flour, cup by cup.
Don’t worry if it looks all chunky and gross. We’ve used this recipe several times and we’ve always experienced this stage. It’ll all work out in the end.
When you’ve added all of the flour, give the dough one final stir and plop it out onto a well-floured counter. Sprinkle some extra flour on top if the dough appears sticky. Be careful – it’ll be very hot still.
Once it’s cooled, kneed the dough well, incorporating all of the extra flour.
Then give your munchkin a chunk and let her go to town.
Fun for hours!
Here’s our slightly tweaked version of the recipe if you want to give it a try:
- 5 cups of water
- 2 1/2 cups of salt
- 3 TBSP of cream of tartar
- 5 TBSP of vegetable oil
- Food colouring
- 5 1/2 cups of flour
Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and food colouring in a large pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly until mixture is hot.
Add oil, then stir in flour a cup at a time, mixing in between each addition. Mix until playdough pulls away from pot and is no longer sticky.
Dump dough on a well-floured counter, let cool a bit, then knead.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for several weeks.