Christmas baking, without the calories

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm not a huge fan of baking. I love crafting, knitting, cooking, and even tolerate sewing...but I do NOT dig baking. It makes a big mess, takes too long, is too exact and I end up eating way too much butter and sugar in the end product. But...it's the holiday season and it seems like baking is something I should do with my kids (well, kid....I'm far too type A to let P help me out here....it's something I'm working on but I'm not quite there yet!) Anywhoodle....I found the PERFECT compromise...all the mess (oh goodie) of baking. All the rolling and cutting and baking and decorating...but none of the eating!!! YAY!!!!!

So what the heck are we baking? ORNAMENTS!!!

Here is what you will need:
1 Cup ground cinnamon (Costco or bulk spices is the way to go!!)
1 Tbsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
3/4 Cup applesauce
2 Tbsp white glue

Directions
1. In a medium bow, stir together the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix in the applesauce and glue. Work the mixture with your hands 2 to 3 minutes to form a ball. If mixture is too wet, add more cinnamon. If mixture is too dry, add more applesauce.

2. Lightly dust a clean surface with cinnamon and top of ball. Roll out the dough (I stole the mini rolling pin from the kids' playdough box) to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes (we started with large stars, but decided on just doing the small stars). The original instructions said to use a toothpick to make a hole, but a straw poked in the center of the star made a perfect hole (the hole will shrink when it dries). What remains after you have cut out all the ornaments can be worked back into a ball and rolled out again easily.



3. Dry in a low oven. We did 185 for a few hours. The original instructions said dry in a sunny spot for 4-5 days...but that is NOT going to happen in Washington until July!

4. Once dry, decorate with ribbon or you can "ice" the ornaments with sparkly puffy paint.

Side note: I was covered from head to toe with cinnamon, so it was hard to hold the camera/phone and my 4 year old photographer kept taking photos of his mouth. So, I snapped a few photos of our last very little batch and then my phone battery died and I didn't get a photo of punching out the middles with the straw, but it's insanely easy....my little helper did them until his arms hurt (don't go calling the authorities!!! Four year old arms hurt after like 10 of them, especially when they figure out they would rather be playing on the DS than helping in the kitchen). My phone now smells like a Snickerdoodle...but that MIGHT be because my nose is filled with cinnamon and I'm assuming the smell is emanating from my phone, when it's really living in my nostrils!

Despite the mess, I did have a great time...and my helper will love telling people he made them ALL by himself and I'll sit there and smile! :)





Still drying...we will update with a photo of the completed product tomorrow!



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