Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Scent of Christmas - Cinnamon Ornaments

OK, so this is not food, but it sure smells like it.  Mom use to make these when we were little.  Though we never decorated them, we simply hung them on the tree and enjoyed the scent.

As an adult, I thought it would be cool to decorate a Christmas tree with cookies one year.  It really didn't work all that well.  All the cookies became stale and drew moisture. Then they started to get kind of soggy.  Eventually, the ribbons pulled through the holes in the top... It was just a big mess... So I now do what my mom did and make cinnamon ornaments that "pose" as cookies.  With a little Fabric Paint for frosting, your good to go!  No fuss, no muss...  And as an added bonus... They smell awesome!  Kind of like Gingerbread, though the cinnamon is the predominant aroma.

This is a great "Christmassy" project for kids too.... (OK, adults like it too... Though from my experience, adults tend to make a bigger mess with the paint) LOL

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 1/2 cups (6 oz) ground Cinnamon
2 TB ground Ginger
1/2 TB ground Clove
1 cup (8.5 oz) Applesauce
1/2 cup (4 oz) Elmer's Glue (Not the School glue, get the good ol' "Glue-All" with the blue label)

Place all the spices in a bowl and whisk them together.

Add Applesauce and Glue....

Then mix thoroughly with your fingers (just like making pasta).....

Until it all comes together into a stiff dough. (Yep, it's that simple...)

If the dough is REALLY stiff, you can add about 1 TB of water to soften it a little.

Knead the dough until it's smooth... Careful, cause it's a little sticky.  I mean, it does contain glue after all. ;)  Then wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour to meld. (this gives the spices a chance to absorb the liquids)

Roll out between sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thickness. (it protects your rolling pin, cause you cannot use flour and using more cinnamon would only make the dough too dry to work with.)

Cut out your gingerbread man shapes..... and re-roll the scraps.

I did mostly Gingerbread men but I threw in a couple of Ginger-bears...

OK, since it's traditional, when we make gingerbread cookies, to make a Ginger-goats (I WAS raised on a goat dairy after all) I went ahead and cut out 1 goat.... And since this is Hunter's first Christmas, I made a Ginger-poodle so I can put the date on it. (though he doesn't have the foofy haircut that the cookie cutter has)

Move to a baking sheet, lined with fresh waxed paper.

Poke a hole in the top with a straw or a toothpick so you will be able to hang them on the tree. (a stir straw from your local coffee shop works best)

If you are using "other" cutters than a standard "gingerbread man/bear" you may need to place the hole in a slightly different spot, to ensure it hangs properly with out tilting forward or backwards on the string.

Place the sheet pan in a warm dry place and allow the ornaments to dry for 3 -5 days. You will need to turn them at least twice per day (every 12 hours) to ensure even drying, or the edges will begin to curl.

They will slowly dry from the edges towards the middle... This is day 2.... They are almost ready since the center is only slightly darker than the edges. (They have lightened in color significantly)

Now take them to your niece's and nephews, along with a bunch of "puff" paints, and let them go to town....  LOL

Ginger June and Ward Cleaver...  (Erica and Myself)

Ginger-Santa and his army of Zombie Soccer Players..  courtesy of Erica and Blaine.. Respectively

Marshall is in a "Jackson Pollack" phase.....

Fun for kids and a wonderful addition to your Christmas tree. (once you run a ribbon or string through the hole)

As delicious as they smell, please, please, please refrain from licking or biting them.

Mangia!!  er, well... Not literally.

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