Teething. It's one of those things parents dread, right up there with sleepless nights and potty training. My baby is 9 1/2 months old right now and already has a bunch of teeth. Besides Hyland's Teething Tablets (just discovered these -- they're awesome), having something to gnaw on seems to bring my sweet little guy some relief.
A few years ago, I came across a recipe for teething biscuits in my favorite (but now defunct) magazine, Wondertime. Even though my firstborn was well past the teething stage and my second child wasn't even a twinkle in my eye yet, I clipped the recipe because I knew it would come in handy some day. The recipe is super-simple and the biscuits are the perfect size and shape for chubby (and, might I add, impossibly cute) baby hands to hold.
Teething Biscuits (from the February 2009 issue of Wondertime)
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup maple syrup (The real stuff, people. Don't even think of using imitation pancake syrup.)
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until dough begins to hold together. Dust countertop with flour and transfer the dough to the floured surface.
Knead the dough lightly until it is smooth -- this will take around three minutes. If the dough gets sticky and difficult to handle, dust with a little more flour.
Roll out the dough until it's somewhere between a 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Cut out the biscuits. You can use a doughnut cutter if you have one or you can use the top of a kids cup like I did, then cutting out the hole in the center with soda-bottle cap. You could also do different shapes and use a cookie cutter, but I prefer the circles because they seem easier for babies to grip.
Transfer biscuits to a greased cookie sheet (or you could use a Silpat. I looove my Silpat.). Bake until they're just barely browned, about 35 minutes. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. If you'd like them to harden even more, leave them out overnight (this didn't seem necessary to me since they're pretty hard once they've cooled). Store in an airtight container (they fit perfectly in a wide-mouth canning jar) for up to 2 weeks.
Sometimes my baby loves these, sometimes he just plays with one like it's a hockey puck (seriously, he sends it flying all around his highchair tray like he's playing a round of air hockey). But when he loves them, he gnaws and gnaws on them until they get all gooey and sticky. Which is fine. It seems like babies are often happiest when they're in that sticky-gooey state anyway.