Every year I make a Christmas ornament. It started when I was single and broke and had plenty of time for crafts. And because I love to dabble, each one was a completely different medium. There have been glass balls, little Christmas baskets, painted silk pillows, and origami cranes. It has been going on for 15 or so years and I honestly can’t even remember half of them. Some day when I’m famous, I’m sure they’ll be worth a fortune, especially because they are limited in quantity. Sometimes I make 10, sometimes I make 2. My mom and my aunt always get one and I go from there depending on my time and energy level. I have less time for crafting now, so it’s a bit harder to pick a style. This year I decided it was time for a remix. Gingerbread Men 2.0. They’re cute and the kids can help. Win-win.
These use the classic cinnamon applesauce ornaments as a base. I’ll post the recipe below. But here they are rolled out and ready for cutting.
We made a few different styles. The apples are for the kids’ teachers and the others are based on the whims of my kids. Don’t forget to poke holes for the string. I use a regular old drinking straw.
Once the ornaments are dried, it’s time for the fun part. The first two ornaments are from the batch this year. The one on the right is the original little man. The first time I used ribbon (so easy!) folded in half. I used fabric this year. Look for a thin, light fabric that won’t unravel a lot. You’ll want a small, tight pattern because you’re not going to see much of it. Then choose some coordinating buttons. The original gingerbread guy had a longer body, so the big buttons worked for him. The new guys were too short, so I went with tiny buttons. I think they both look pretty cute. I used jute twine the first time and hemp string (for beading) this year. I prefer the jute because it has a rustic vibe. You can also use a pretty ribbon, but I like the natural look of the fibers.
Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
- 1 C applesauce
- 1 C cinnamon
- 1 T nutmeg
- 1 T ground cloves
- 2-3 oz white glue
- Mix all of the ingredients together. I’ll be honest here… I measured the applesauce and cinnamon and estimated the rest.
- The dough should be moist and not cracked at all, but it should hold its shape in a ball. You don’t want it to be too wet. Adjust the applesauce and cinnamon until you have a good consistency.
- Make sure the dough is mixed very well, or you’ll end up with cracks and a fragile ornament.
- Roll out to about 1/4″ on a surface lightly dusted with cinnamon.
- Cut your shapes and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. This protects your cookie sheet from the glue and absorbs a bit of the moisture.
- Re-roll the excess dough as needed to use as much as you can. Keep in mind that you’ll need to work in the additional cinnamon really well.
- Poke holes for the string. A drinking straw works well to not only make the hole, but remove the excess dough. Whatever you use, keep in mind that the ornaments will shrink slightly as they dry. Make sure the hole is large enough for the string or ribbon you plan to use.
- Bake on 170 degrees for an hour.
- If you’re in a hurry, you can flip all of the ornaments over and bake for another 30-45 minutes. Watch them closely so they don’t start to darken or burn.
- Place the ornaments on a cooling rack with the back of the ornament facing down. They tend to take on some of the wire pattern so you don’t want to ruin the front of the ornament.
- Flip the ornaments regularly (every few hours, if possible) to keep them from bowing in either direction.
- They should take another 18-48 hours to dry, depending on how long you baked them and the humidity in your home.
- Decorate and string!
Two notes: 1) Make sure your family knows that these are not food. Trust me on this, because they smell so delicious. 2) These are fragile. When decorating watch for any cracks or blemishes that may show a structural problem with the ornament. It’s always good to make a few extra.
This made 20-24 ornaments for us.