|I decorated these two rather quickly so I could take pictures and write this post. The kids and I will decorate the rest on Thursday - it's another one of our activities!|
I came upon the best recipe yet! It was posted on a blog called Heartland MOPS. And, if you know me, you know I changed it a little bit. (One thing I want to tell you before I get started on the recipe: Do not buy your spices at the grocery store for this one. Head to the dollar store, Aldi, anywhere else. They don't need to be fresh, you're not eating them - just using their smell!)
Spiced Ornament Dough
- 1 c. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tb. ground cloves
- 1 Tb. ground ginger
- 1 Tb. ground nutmeg
- 1 c. applesauce
- 2 Tb. white glue (I used Elmer's Glue All)
- 2 Tb. flour + more for rolling dough
- Measure out the dry ingredients and stir them together. Make sure you pour the cinnamon and stir slowly! There will be cinnamon dust floating around and you probably don't want to be breathing it in. I had Little Guy get down off the chair he was standing on and wait at the kitchen table until I had the wet ingredients added.
- So, yeah... the next part is to add the applesauce and glue. Now, the glue probably isn't a necessity, but it does hold everything together nicely once the ornaments are dry.
- Once everything is mixed pretty well, have you kid put his or her hands into that bowl and knead the dough for a while. It's not as if it has to be perfectly kneaded, so just let them feel it, squish it, and smell it for 5-10 minutes. What they're doing is helping the gluten in the flour come out, making the dough a little elastic. If the dough seems too wet or sticky, add a little more flour. It really shouldn't be sticky. You should be able to shake your hands and have the majority of it fall off.
- Now it's time for fun! Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface to 1/4" thick. I had some that was slightly thinner, but you need to be careful - the thinner the ornaments are, the more likely they will break! Also, watch that you don't use too much flour. You can see faint white areas on my ornaments from using too much.
- Cut the ornaments and set on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets. You don't really have to worry about them being far apart because they're not going to rise, but make sure that they aren't touching.
- Bake at 200 degrees for an hour - your house is going to smell AMAZING. If they're still wet, carefully flip them over and bake for 30 minutes to an hour more - check every 10-15 minutes to make sure they don't burn! (Burnt cinnamon is nasty-smelling and will hang around the house for days. Yuck!) If you don't want to bake them, you can let them dry on their own for 3 to 4 days, turning once a day to dry evenly.
- Once dry, you can decorate your ornaments in any number of ways. I chose to use obviously inedible decorations so no one would think they were cookies. While the ornaments are made of food and non-toxic glue, they taste nasty - just ask Little Guy who decided that I was wrong when I told him it was yucky. He took a HUGE bite of dough when my back was turned. He really wanted to prove me wrong and tell me it was yummy (yep, he's three!) When I turned back around, I knew, by the look on his face, what he'd done. I waited to see what he'd do. After holding it in his mouth for 30 seconds, it got spit right out.