Almond paste play dough

In my early teens, I became the holiday baker of the family. Coupled with what I then saw as sleep deprivation (awww, so cute), December baking made for many a tearful night hunched over plates of partially decorated cookies. 

Since D was born, I've been both less ambitious about what to bake and better prepared for that baking. Holiday bakers know that there is always a run on almond paste in December, but I prepared for that scarcity by adding a 7-pound container of it to my November Subscribe & Save order. For $8.37. Considering you can easily pay that much for 7 ounces of paste, it seemed too good to be true. 

And it was, because the almond paste was backordered. My husband saved Christmas by scouring high shelves for the last local cans of almond paste. The enormous can of almond paste seemed too daunting when it finally arrived in March, so it got tucked away in the back of a cabinet. A few months later we moved to a new state, hauling that can of almond paste behind us, and now here I am in August, perilously close to its use-by date. 

Enormous can of almond paste. Regular-sized can opener for scale.

Enormous can of almond paste. Regular-sized can opener for scale.

So it's time for the best-smelling play dough ever made. 

Almond paste + food coloring makes beautiful play dough.

Almond paste + food coloring makes beautiful play dough.

Well, "play dough," really, because it's just almond paste plus food coloring. "Play paste," maybe? Almond paste is just sugar and almonds, so it takes color really well; just spoon out a handful of the paste, add a few drops of food coloring, and knead the dough until the color spreads throughout. Your hands will get colorful when mixing, but the resulting dough will not leave any color on hands. The dough is very sticky, so feel free to add flour. But if you leave it sticky, it'll be easier to stick things in it. 

Play dough and white shorts. Sometimes you have to live dangerously.

Play dough and white shorts. Sometimes you have to live dangerously.

Almond paste "play dough" is perfect for kids who like to stick things in other things. 

Almond paste "play dough" is perfect for kids who like to stick things in other things. 

We used less than two pounds of the almond paste to make the play dough, so now it's time to bake with 5 more pounds of almond paste. What a delicious start to the week.