Children learn about teeth in many settings: school, camp and, of course, at the dental office. But baking teeth cookies at home with the family gives you a fun opportunity to focus on the shape of teeth and the tools we use to brush them. There are cookie cutters made especially for this activity. Enjoy this teachable moment with your children and continue the fun by singing songs about teeth and dental care while the cookies are baking. Although we tend to discourage our kids from eating too many sweets, a cookie now and then is okay for dessert. Just make sure to brush after you're done enjoying your delicious dessert!
The Basic Cookie Recipe
Start with a simple recipe to make your dough. You will need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
What to do:
Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until you get a creamy consistency. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating.
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder and slowly add this to the butter mixture.
Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
Divide the dough into quarter portions and work with one part at a time. Keep the remaining dough chilled.
Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured tabletop.
Cut with a tooth or toothbrush cookie cutter and place them onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
Cool completely before decorating.
Note: You can also use prepackaged sugar cookie mixes or chilled roll dough instead of the recipe above.
You will need:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
What to do:
Combine the powdered sugar and egg white until it becomes spreadable.
Add food coloring to the desired shade.
Spread the frosting onto the cookie with a flat knife or pipe it using a zipper-locking bag with a tiny hole cut in the corner.
Outline each cookie to give it definition and decorate the toothbrush cookie to enhance the shape and brush bristles.
Natural Smile Treat
If you prefer to make a snack with more nutritious ingredients, try apple smile treats. Start with two sliced apple wedges and spread peanut butter on each. Place miniature marshmallows in a row on one wedge to look like teeth. Place the other wedge on top. You now have a "toothy smile" to eat and enjoy!
Making teeth cookies and other treats with your family is a good bonding activity and engages children in dental awareness. And of course, this project helps in starting discussions on why it's important to brush your teeth after eating a sweet treat to prevent tooth decay.