We were asked to road-test 3-D dinosaur cookie cutters (£7.50) by Kitchen Rules, a new and growing online cookware company. Both my 5 and 3 year old love Dinosaur Train on Netflix and Andy's Dinosaur Adventures on Cbeebies, so I jumped at the chance. I've never used 3-D cookie cutters before and was intrigued. We were sent a triceratops, but you can also get a stegosaurus, brachiosaurus or a t-rex.
The cutters come with a recipe for ginger biscuits on the inside of the packaging, but I didn't find that until I was clearing up! Anyway, co-incidently I had decided to get Youngest to make them using the Tickle Fingers ginger biscuit recipe. It was the obvious choice because you need a fairly hard and robust biscuit and the light brown sugar gives them a dinosaury, brown tinge.
Ingredients (makes 4 triceratops with a little left over to get creative)
- 150g (1 1/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus some for dusting
- 100g (3 1/2oz) butter
- 50g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp water
- Coloured Icing to decorate
1. Cut butter into small chunks and place in bowl. Learning to cut safely is a key skill; the younger you start them the better, but use a table knife or a child-safe knife. I would never use a sharp kitchen knife with a toddler, even under close supervision. It only takes one absent minded moment or a sudden toddler strop... Get them to hold the knife with one hand and the food in the other. Make sure they 'hide' their thumb out of the way. Get them to do a sawing action while pressing down. You might need to place your hand over theirs while cutting.
2. Add the flour, sugar and ginger to the bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs. You want them to use their finger tips, rather than squish with their hands. To encourage this, I tell them to "tickle" the butter into the flour - hence the origin of "tickle fingers!"
3. Add the water and then squish and squeeze mix together until there is a ball of dough.
4. Have fun dusting the board and rolling pin with lots of flour. If you have one, use a flour shaker to make it "snow" everywhere. Roll out the dough until about 2mm thick. Make sure they are quite thin. A few of ours were a little too thick to fit together and ended up having to be 2D rather than 3D.
5. Use the cutters to cut the dinosaur shapes. Our second mistake was not doing enough legs. For each dinosaur, you need to cut out one head, one tail and two leg bits. We then had a little dough left over so Youngest made what she proudly announced was a "dinosaur worm" and I attempted to make a mini stegosaurus. The final cooked result looked nothing like a stegosaurus, but it did look like a very good rock; perfect for some dinosaur scenery...
6. Use the second table knife to gently lift the biscuits onto the lined tray. I often do this bit for them and in this case, I insisted, because the biscuits need to keep their shape if they are all to fit together at the end.
Bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes until lightly coloured, then leave to cool on the tray. Once cool, assemble the dinosaur.
I mixed up 3 batches of icing in different colours by adding a few drops of food dye into an icing sugar/water mix. By this time Eldest had come home from school so I gave them both a triceratops each and got them to drizzle icing all over with teaspoons. We were all pretty happy with how they turned out.
These were easier to do and more effective than I thought. As long as you roll the biscuits thin enough, they assemble easily and certainly the triceratops stood up well. You do have to treat them a little carefully. However, Youngest is known as 'Tigger' in our house because she's so bouncy, and she only caused one leg casualty and that was easily fixed with a bit of strategically placed icing. The icing really helped to strengthen them. Once that had hardened, they could be moved around fairly easily. The little chefs loved watching them come together and doing the decorating. They then had a good time giving them names and pretending they could talk... When it came to eating, there was much hilarity as the heads, tails, horns etc... were bitten off. All in all, they made a fun change to normal cutters, kept them amused and I thought the end result looked great. If anyone has a dinosaur-themed birthday party coming up, they'd make a brilliant edible show-piece.
If you'd like to see what else we recommend, jump over to Tickle Fingers' favourite products for cooking with children.