My shortcuts: 1. I put all the ingredients except the water into a Bosch mixing bowl (with cookie paddles). 2. I boiled the water in the microwave then dumped it into the mixer. Dough is totally mixed into a smooth, clean ball in about 10 seconds--and no messy pan, spoon or hands. My kids sometimes like to knead a little glitter in too. It's the only glitter project we've ever done that leaves no glitter mess; it all sticks to the play dough.