Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Make Your Own Cinnamon Ornaments - Kid Friendly Craft Idea

In an attempt to move my kids away from the commercially motivated Christmas, this year I opted for more experiences, crafts and quality time with my family. We are keeping the gifts to two apiece and I am having them focus more on giving and creativity than a long list of wants and desires this year.

Honestly, the previous year's pile of toys went mostly un-played with and there was almost no appreciation for what they did have. Instead my 5 and 3 year old were abuzz with all the wants and desires they saw on aisle end-caps or flashy commercials.

Well, enough.

What are your memories from childhood holidays? I can't say that I can remember more than a few past Christmas gifts. What I do vividly remember are the nights in front of the fire as we decorated the tree. With  Nat King Cole singing in the background and a hearty mug full of hot cocoa, I drifted off to sleep watching the tree's lights twinkle and my parents looking for the best spot for their cherished ornaments. The memories of my Mom baking in the kitchen are a close second, but none of my best memories involve the size or number of presents I received.

Last year I showed my son how to make a paper chain garland for the tree and this year we created these fast and easy cinnamon ornaments. Read on and I hope you will give them a try. With just two simple ingredients, they have made the entire house smell more like the holidays (and I baked these last week!).

I was looking for a simple craft my children could help make and then hang on our tree. We also gave away a few to family members. It was such a hit, the kids are already planning out other shapes they want to make next year. I can tell this will become a beloved holiday tradition.

Again, the supplies and ingredients are minimal. You only need applesauce and cinnamon to make the ornaments, but string or twine to hang them, cookie cutters, a non-stick sheet and a skewer will come in handy.

I will include the recipe at the bottom of the post, but take 1 cup of applesauce and measure it into a large bowl.

Then take 1 cup of cinnamon and mix that in. It needs 1 1/2 cups of cinnamon total, but the final 1/2 cup will require some time with your hands to get it all incorporated. My kids had a blast helping to mix it all.

I grabbed the cheapest applesauce on the shelf and picked up a bottle of cinnamon at Costco. I have heard the dollar store is another great place to hunt for supplies.

Mix it all in. I promise it will all get incorporated. If it seems too crumbly, let it sit for a few minutes. It make take a while for the cinnamon to all become moist. You can always add a little more applesauce or cinnamon at this point, if necessary. It should hold together, but be as dry as possible without being too crumbly to hold a shape.

I laid down waxed paper underneath my dough. I dusted it with a little more cinnamon and then covered with another sheet of waxed paper over the top before rolling.

We used an assortment of star cookie cutters this time, but get creative. Next time I want to make some Gingerbread men, my daughter wants to cut out Christmas trees.

I put them on my Silpat mat. They were close, but not touching so they can dry properly. I used the skewer to poke holes in each ornament for my twine.

I picked up a spool of kitchen twine in Marchino from The Twinery. Boy, I have fallen in love with that online shop. If you haven't seen their selection, you will be amazed with all the colors of Baker's Twine possible.

Bake these in the oven at 200 degrees for around 2 hours. You want them to dry completely, but actual time needed will vary depending on the humidity of your home and how thick you make your ornaments. If you are worried, bake them and then leave them in the oven, turned off, overnight just to be sure.

Once dried, store in an airtight container to reuse the following year. A friend of mine has had hers for 6 years and still loves the smell.

Of course, I will just mention that these are not intended to be eaten. They might smell yummy... but, they aren't for consumption.

Cinnamon Ornaments

You Will Need:

  • 1 c. applesauce
  • 1 1/2 c. cinnamon
  • ground cloves or other dry spices *optional

  • Bakers twine or string for hanging
  • cookie cutters
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin
  • non-stick mat or parchment paper
  • skewer or pencil for punching holes
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Mix the ingredients well until all the cinnamon is incorporated. Roll out between waxed paper and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Poke holes in each ornament before baking.

Bake for around 2 hours or until hard and dry. Turn off the oven and leave overnight to completely cure. 

String the ornaments with Baker's twine, hang and enjoy the smell of cinnamon for weeks and years to come!

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