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Each year as the holiday season comes near, we can’t help but submerge our senses into the season’s joyful sights and sounds. The magical season is almost here, and our need to get busy with preparations overflows with excitement.
Isn’t it great to prepare crafts or bake goods for the whole family to enjoy? I combined the two and created some beautiful holiday ornaments that will not only dress up a tree with an earthy touch, but also fill your home with a sweet and spicy festive aroma. Best of all, the ingredients and decorations can be found right in your own kitchen cabinet. Even the cutters!
Making the Dough
- 2 c. flour
- ¾ c. salt
- ¼ c. ground cinnamon
- 2 T ground nutmeg
- 2 T ground ginger
- ¾ -1 c. warm water
- (1 t egg white for coating)
Combine all the dry ingredients, slowly mix in the water, and knead to form a dough. Add more water or flour to get a pliable firmness. Roll out the dough to ¼” thickness and cut desired shapes.
Making the Ornament Cutters
- Aluminum pan
- Ruler and pencil
- Sharp scissors
- Work gloves
Draw 1” lines on your aluminum pan and cut out strips. Shape into a desired design, bend the edges over with the pliers to secure the sides. Caution: pieces may be sharp, please use caution when cutting and shaping. Use work gloves.
When cutting shapes into the dough, please use oven mitts to press down as the edges may be sharp. Do not leave handmade cookie cutters unattended with children.
Lightly coat the ornaments with egg whites to act as glue. Then, use an assortment of spices and seeds to give the desired look. We used fennel, coriander and caraway. Beautiful textures and colors will also come from using poppy seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and even peppercorns. Look through your spice cabinet for more inspiration and possible ingredients. Push the seeds/ spices into the dough a little to create a natural spice-encrusted look.
With a pointy tool (I used a cocktail pick), cut into the shapes for a more detailed look. With the same tool, or straw, make a hole on top for the string.
Bake at 250 for about 1 hour. Leave them flat for approximately two days or until completely hardened. These are not edible and are meant for decoration purposes only.
Run a ribbon or string through the holes and you’re ready to hang these deliciously smelling ornaments. Children will love making their own designs from all the spices and seeds. You can learn about spices along the way, as the kids will be excited to try them. All the decorations are safe to eat; albeit some, like the peppercorns, may be too spicy.
These are not only fun to make; they may truly become treasured heirloom ornaments as they are durable and will continue looking beautiful throughout the years. To store them, lightly wrap them in soft tissue and keep them in a cool, dry, bug-free location. If you feel the need to ‘revive’ them in a few years, you can place them in the oven at 200 degrees for 10-20 minutes (be careful not to burn them). Enjoy them for years to come!
Don’t forget to make a few of these baked beauties as Christmas gifts for someone special on your list. I packaged them in a simple craft box and placed them on a bed of dried grass – that look really compliments the natural handmade quality about them.