Saturday, September 23, 2006

Basic Biscuit, Cocoa and Playdough Mixes

Here it is, September is almost gone already, and that means it's time to get myself into gear for the holidays. Once a week La Vida Dulce will be posting some of the basic mixes, formulas and recipes we have used throughout the years. It helps to have these on hand, that way we can get moving and be done with one product or gift, then move on to the next. Today we feature two mixes using nonfat dry milk, plus a fun playdough recipe for the kids. Older kids with some basic kitchen knowledge can handle this one, but PLEASE supervise them, accidents can happen, even I have recent kitchen scars. Younger kids can help out with measuring, (a wonderful way to teach math!) but safety comes first. Have fun!

BISCUIT MIX (something like that big yellow box)
2 lbs. or about 8 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups instant nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon plain salt, not kosher
1 1/2 cups shortening

In a very large bowl stir dry ingredients until well mixed. With a pastry blender or large fork cut in the shortening until well blended. Store in an air-tight covered container, keep at about 70-75 degrees F. Use within one month. Makes about 10 cups.

5 cups instant nonfat dry milk
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup quality cocoa powder,
Ghiradelli or Hershey's Dark are good choices
tiny pinch of salt
Additional flavorings:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Whipped cream

Mix nonfat dry milk, sugar, salt and cocoa together in a very large bowl with a whisk. Add flavorings as desired. Store in an air-tight covered jar.

To make 1 quart of chocolate milk or hot cocoa, add 3 cups of plain water to 1 1/2 cups cocoa mix in a heavy saucepan. Heat just to boiling. Lower heat and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, set the timer. Serve in mugs or large cups for hot cocoa, top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired. For a quick cold chocolate milk drink, chill before serving. To make only one cup of hot cocoa, use 6 tablespoons of cocoa mix in a mug and add 3/4 cup boiling water, stir.
NOTE: This mix makes a nice hostess or gift exchange present. Include the directions on a gift card.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup plain water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup plain salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
liquid food coloring

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please remember to supervise at ALL times when cooking with children. DO NOT WALK AWAY, PET THE DOG OR ANSWER THE PHONE! Be the adult in charge, not next of kin on the accident report. Seriously.

To make playdough in the desired color, add a few drops of food coloring to water, or add more for a deeper color. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan, stir with a wooden spoon. Cook mixture on medium heat until it begins to leave the side of the pan, just as with choux paste. Let cool, remove from saucepan, and place in a tightly covered plastic container, or ziplock bag. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using, it may be too warm for small hands to use. Keep in the frige when not using, and throw it out if it gets too dirty. Will last for about one month. So you know when it's past its prime, write the date playdough was made on a piece of tape and stick onto the side of the container. Make a couple of batches in several colors. Be creative, get out the rolling pins, cookie cutters, wooden sticks, whatever. But if you want to add flavor extracts, remember it may entice kids to eat the playdough. It's up to you. This is great fun to make with your kids or grandkids!

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