Monday, November 13, 2006

Apple Cinnamon Dough

By Brandi M. Seals

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. There is so much to do that I often do my shopping way in advance so that I have time to pay attention to small details. I always set my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I make cookies and other Christmas treats. I set up snow village that is always growing.

I do not know why I like Christmas so much, but I suspect I am not alone. My first real Christmas memory that does not involve Santa Claus, opening presents or gorging myself on Christmas dinner is of me and my mom making ornaments for everyone.

We made dough out of applesauce and cinnamon to make the ornaments. The dough smelled so good that I begged to eat it, but my mom would not let me. Good thing too, it would not have been good. There is way too much cinnamon in it to be tasty. What is nice is the smell that comes from the ornament. The scent even last a couple of years and will make any home smell great.

To make these applesauce and cinnamon ornaments follow these simple instructions.

Gather the following necessary supplies:
1 cup of applesauce
1.5 cups of cinnamon
Rolling pin
Cookie cutters
Baking sheet

This dough is extremely easy to make. Simply combine the applesauce and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix until a dough forms. If the dough is too dry it will crumble. Add a tad more applesauce until the desired consistence is reached.

To roll the dough, sprinkle cinnamon, not flour on the rolling surface. Shape the dough into a ball and press flat into a round disk. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness.

Using cookie cutters, cut the dough out in any shape you like. Really this dough can be used to make a variety of designs, but it is a traditional Christmas ornament dough. I really like doing hearts, Christmas trees, and wreathes.

Once the shapes are cut out, transfer the pieces to a baking sheet. You will want to make a hole in each of the ornaments. Use a toothpick to make a hole that will be used for hanging up the completed ornament.

You will need to bake up your dough ornaments. Place them in a 200 degree oven for about an hour. When they come out they will be a beautiful reddish brown hue. Check to make sure the holes you created are still useable. If they have closed a little in the baking process, use the toothpick to help reopen the area. You will need to do this while the dough is still hot. It will now work if they have cooled.

Allow the ornaments to cool completely before you finish the process. Do not be surprised if a little bit of cinnamon comes off the ornament. That is normal and it will stop eventually.

I like to use a decorative ribbon for hanging the ornaments. Pick anything you like, but it has been my experience that red looks better than green with the ornament's color. Feed a length of ribbon through the hole and tie the ends together so that you can now use the ribbon to hang the ornament on the Christmas tree.

I like to do multi-pieced ornaments. For example, I might do one with hearts. I would take varying sizes of heart cookie cutters. I would do one large heart ornament, then use the next sized cutter to cut the center out of the big ornament. I would continue that on until I have used the smallest cookie cutter I have. To put the ornament together, bake the pieces up as directed above, but put two holes in ever piece, except the smallest. You will need a hole at the top and one at the bottom.

Use shorter pieces of ribbon to connect the hearts in size order. Be sure to use a large enough piece of ribbon at the top so that the ornament can be hung up properly.

Get the kids involved with this project. They can help out and trust me; they will have plenty of ideas for different ornaments.

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