Nov 30, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Cinnamon "Gingerbread" Ornaments

December's recipes will focus on holiday foods, but to kick things off, I'll start with one of my all-time favorite crafts:  cinnamon dough for "gingerbread" men and women.  This recipe is quick, easy and the results will smell good for years to come - I've had my ornaments for at least five or six years and they still exude the scent of cinnamon when I open their storage tin each year.

Cinnamon dough for "gingerbread" ornaments

1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon (cheap dollar store will work as well as the more expensive brand-name gourmet cinnamons)
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup white school glue (Elmer's or other non-toxic glue)
Whole allspice
White puff paint for decorating
Ribbon for hanging

Mix the ingredients together until a dough forms. knead for a few minutes. Placed on waxed paper that has been dusted with cinnamon; place waxed paper on top and roll out to 1/4-inch or slightly thicker. If the dough is sticky, dust the dough, your hands and rolling pin with more cinnamon - you want it to be tacky but not too soft to maintain its shape.

Cut out with cookie cutters in the shape of your choice.  I used a gingerbread man and woman; simple shapes are best.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil.  Use a large flat spatula to transfer cut-outs to the lined cookie sheet. The pieces can be placed close together, just not touching. Use a drinking straw to make a hole for hanging (the ornaments and hole will shrink upon drying, so leave at least 1/4-inch between top of ornament and hanging hole.)  Use the allspice to make buttons and eyes; press into dough.

Heat oven to low (170 degrees) and "bake" for several hours or until dry to the touch. Transfer to wire rack and allow to air dry for another day or two before decorating and hanging.  Note:  these will be darker than true gingerbread when dry.

Use white puff paint like "icing" to outline the shape, color buttons, and add other embellishments to make them look like cookies.  Thread ribbon through hanging holes and hang on tree.  If storing in the attic after Christmas, be sure to layer with tissue paper or plain newsprint; the puff paint can soften and stick when it meets the summer heat of an attic.  Makes at least a dozen 3-inch ornaments.  Be sure to keep out of reach of hungry and curious toddlers, although one attempted nibble should be enough to stop them in their tracks.

Happy (fake) baking!
Print Friendly and PDF