Play dough to eat and enjoy
Credit: Sue Visser

Make gluten-free play dough and cookies


This dough mixture serves as both food and entertainment. The basic mixture is easy to make and you can keep it in the refrigerator until you wish to do some baking or let the kids amuse themselves with it. Being non-toxic, free of gluten and offensive chemicals and suitable for all blood types, the health conscious parent can relax about it being eaten and used to play with.

We do not need to add any preservatives. I made some playthings from the mixture over two years ago and they still look OK. But at this stage they don’t taste very fresh! Children enjoy eating basic items they make but often like to keep their little creations box because they are so proud of them. Store them in an airtight plastic box. This is what I did, and not even in the refrigerator. The point being, the dough is suitable to make trinkets with a reasonable lifespan. This opens up possibilities, if we are not going to eat the dough. We can then paint them and use glitter and sequins for decorating the pieces.

For festive occasions think of making candle holders, place cards for guests and birthday cake decorations. Scatter your creations around the table too, to add a tasty touch. Because this play dough is very strong, you can even use it to make pieces for board games. Think of noughts and crosses. Roll the dough into ten balls then flatten them into discs. Now make “X” on five of them and “O” on the other five. Don’t stop there. Use the dough to make drafts or fake coins and have loads of fun.

Ingredient discussion to put you at ease

We only use three ingredients and the result is a very tasty, yet nutritious treat.

What is the best oil to bake with?

Olive oil, rice bran or grape seed oils are preferable as they suit all blood types and withstand reasonably high temperatures. If this is not important, use canola oil instead. Exposing sunflower oil to high temperatures is not advised, so rather use it for making salad dressings or dips.

What type of molasses is best to use?

Sweet molasses is usually called “DE sulphured or high-test molasses”. Black treacle is similar and is suitable for baking sweeter things like cookies. The sugar content turns dough golden and helps to strengthen the baked goodies. The crude black strap molasses is lower in sugar and higher in nutrients but it won’t give the strength or toffee-like flavour we need.

What flour is gluten-free and binds well?

Yellow pea flour is gluten-free and it suits all blood types. It is high in protein and low in cost. It is usually available from Indian spice shops or health shops. (Note that excessive consumption of peas may cause infertility.)  Buckwheat flour would make a reasonable substitute in this case.

Quick and easy non-toxic gluten-free play dough for all blood types

Pour 50 ml oil into a soup plate.

Use the same scoop to pour in the 100 ml (2x50 ml scoops) of molasses. The oil makes the molasses run out of the measure easily.

Use a knife to mix in the first scoop (100 ml) of pea flour. Then mix in the second scoop and then the third scoop. The mixture stiffens.

Now use your hands to work the dough into a putty-like texture. Cut it into pieces and store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to firm up or be used when the kids want to play with it. (But if you are eager to continue – do so!) Make your items an even thickness, about 4mm. This is important otherwise flat areas will burn and big bumpy balls will remain raw.

Place the cookies and playthings on a flat baking tray that has been lightly coated with a non-stick spray. To cook your masterpieces pre heat the oven to 189 degrees Celsius.  Then switch it off. Now place the tray inside and leave it alone for at least 20 – 30 minutes. Allow them to cool down completely so they become firm. After a few hours they become very strong and are then ready for rougher treatment.

Variations for different effects and flavours

Sesame seeds: Make small dough balls, flatten them out in a bowl of sesame seeds so the cookies become round and coated on both sides.

Desiccated coconut: Use the same technique as for the sesame seeds. Also try little worms. These hairy worms are great fun. The coconut can also be used to decorate the animals or flowers you make.

Chocolate flavour:  Take a piece of the play dough mixture and make a big dent in the middle of it. Add a little cocoa powder and work it into the ball with your fingers. Use spices like cinnamon or ginger to make other flavours. Children may not like all the spices you add, so let them decide for themselves.

Adding texture: Grind up a seed mixture to increase the nutritional as well as fibre content of the cookies. The classic Omega blend has pumpkin, sunflower, flax (linseed) and sesame seeds. Work it into the new, soft dough. Work on a plate to knead the dough into the seeds. The cookies can also be coated in the ground up seeds. Whole pumpkin or sunflower seeds are also nice to decorate things the kids make.

Now explore other flavours, textures and shapes. Try chocolate and coconut wiggles, for instance. Make a marbled, streaky ball of dough. Go on have fun, even as a big person - surprise yourself!

Add a satisfying end to a Middle Eastern meal

For an unusual end to a spicy Middle Eastern feast, make ginger and cardamom flavoured cookies, with a little grated lemon peel zest. Coat them with sesame seeds. It goes well with small cups of cardamom coffee or some mint tea.

A quick recipe summary

 50 ml oil, 100 ml molasses, 300 ml yellow pea flour.

Combine all with fork and work into stiff play dough with hands. Use or keep. Heat up the oven 180 deg. C. Turn off. Bake. Enjoy!

Three ingredients
Credit: Sue Visser
Sesame snaps
Credit: Sue Visser
Add flavour and texture
Credit: Sue Visser
School lunch includes a game
Credit: Sue Visser
Coconut and spice after dinner treats
Credit: Sue Visser