By Mike on Friday, May 27, 2011, 21:38 - Permalink
May 2011 - I found a second hand set of Play-Doh shaping tools in a charity shop for the bargain price of £1.50. The set includes a couple of different extruder tools which have potential for fun in the kitchen.
I began by cleaning and sanitising the whole set - it's all hard plastic, so this was easy, although the large extruder tool has a surprising number of small nooks and crevices, considering it's designed to be used with something that is good at getting stuck in them.
I eventually got it all free of dried remnants of dough, then washed, rinsed and drained everything.
I made a quick dough out of 150g plain flour, 150g semolina, 100g caster sugar, 85g butter, an egg, some vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
I blended this all together in the food processor until it formed doughy clumps, then turned it out and kneaded it a little.
Then I let loose with the extruder, using about a walnut-sized piece of dough each time, and with a sharp knife on standby to trim off the extrusions after squeezing them onto the tray.
I had about a dozen different options available from the shape dies in the set, so I tried them all.
Some of the shape dies offered the opportunity to arrange the extruded pieces in different ways, for example, one produced four thin ribbons - and these could be either left to tumble randomly into a heap, or swirled into a rosette, or concertina-folded, and so on.
The semolina in my dough made it quite coarse and grainy - meaning that for some of the more intricately-shaped dies, the extrusion didn't exit smoothly, but the ragged surface was still quite decorative and regular in appearance, so it just added to the effect..
I baked the shapes in the oven at 160C for ten minutes.
They held their shape very well during baking - just taking on a tinge of nutty brown on the edges and thinner parts.
I left them to cool for ten minutes before trying to handle them. - then I transferred them to a wire rack.
Considering their humble and juvenile origins, I think they look quite posh and grown-up. Some are more appealing than others (the wormy ones just looks wrong, to me).
This recipe yielded quite dense, crunchy biscuits - tasty, but a bit too hard to eat on their own. They are brilliant for dunking in coffee or hot chocolate though - because they hold together really well.