Friday, January 8, 2010

Gingerbread Men

So, yep, other post after the holiday it was meant to come before.  Sorry folks.  Life just seems to be that way.

Before Christmas we made cinnamon salt dough ornaments for our tree.  It was a great 2 day activity and really cheap but perfectly fitting for our tree decorating style (which is, if you care, what I call prairie style, -very simple & somewhat woodsy/rustic but not country or cowboy...hmm).

So we made a basic salt dough, but added nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.  When adding the cinnamon, Helen wanted to help.  It was her activity after all.  So the few teaspoons I was planning on became more like 1/4+ cup as she poured all of what was left in my partially used bottle in.  I was hoping they would smell and it smelt great the day the baked in the oven, but it quickly faded.  The cinnamon did give the perfect color though.

Basic Salt Dough
1 part water
2 parts flour
2 parts salt

  1. Mix the dough.  It should feel moist & relatively smooth - I say that because it has a ton of salt and some people will say it still feels coarse.
  2. Roll out to about 1/4 in thickness and cut with whatever shape you want.
  3. If you are making ornaments, take a toothpick and make a hole at the top by inserting and then turning in circles.  Make the hole a lot bigger than you think it should be.  Some of ours we could barely get the ribbon through after baking.
  4. Bake in a 250 degree oven.  Baking time will vary, but I'd start out at 20 min.  You want them to be hard all over, but not browned.  Ours went for about 45 min.

I found that 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, and 1/2 cup water worked for Helen's attention span and we didn't need more than this.  It also was plenty for our Christmas tree.  Just making and baking them was an activity in itself.  We decorated them another day with candy and raisins using royal icing as glue.

Here are our pictures of the fun we had.

Rolling out the dough - see that beautiful color in the dough.

The men cutouts.

Starting the hole with a toothpick.

Helen recognized the shape and
got out her stuffed "Gingy" toy and floured him too.

Don't mind Helen, she was trying to use the potty this day
and refused to wear diapers or panties.
Her pants were having a hard time staying up.

Here we are flouring "Gingy" again.

Making a decorative edge before baking.

We put an egg wash on the second batch
so they would be more shiny.

Here is a finished product.
We decided jawbreakers were too big for the eyes.
Kinda looks a little too googly.

Another finished one with raisins for eyes.
I just used spare bits of red & white ribbon
that I had on hand for the hangers.

Most of the decorations had broken off (mainly with the help of two little hands) by Christmas.  But really who cares?  We didn't.  They were cheap and we can have more fun and make them next year again.  Plus they really wouldn't store well.

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