Making Spice-Scented Christmas Ornaments

By , December 30, 2010

We have, for a long time, had a small Christmas ornament that I’ve really liked. It looks like a gingerbread cookie, but it smells of cinnamon, perfuming our living room at Christmas time, and scenting the ornament box the rest of the year. Recently, I learned that ornaments of this kind are inexpensive and dead-simple to make! Before the Christmas season closes, I’d like to share the “recipe” for making simple, rustic, aromatic, and surprisingly long-lasting homemade Christmas ornaments.

homemade Christmas cookie ornaments

Spicy “gingerbread cookie” ornaments, cut out and ready to dry (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

Like almost every recipe I’ve ever shared with you, spelling out the exact recipe seems a bit unnecessary. It can be condensed into very simple terms:

Cinnamon Scented Christmas Cookie Ornaments

No Sugar Added Apple Sauce

Ground Cinnamon

Ground Cloves

Cookie Cutters

Cookie Pans

Combine roughly equal portions of ground cinnamon and apple sauce, using a bit more cinnamon than sauce. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of each, but that makes a lot of dough! Add about 1/8 of a portion of ground clove. Mix well until fully combined into a dough.

roll out to about ¼” thick.

Cut shapes as desired, OR roll out and press into gingerbread molds*.

Lay out cut shapes on a cookie sheet. Lining it with wax paper or parchment works well.

Cut or poke holes in the top of each object for hanging. We used a soda straw to punch a neat hole big enough to use narrow ribbon.

Allow to dry 12 hours to overnight. Turn and dry for another 12 hours. Repeat till dry.

*If you use a mold, do not press globs of the dough into the mold! As it dries, it will likely break along the joins. One rolled out sheet, pressed into the mold, works better.


failed cookie mold ornament

We learned that molds should have rolled out dough laid into them and pressed, not pieced in (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

As the ornaments dry, the moisture seems drawn by gravity, so the “wet spot” will shift from the upper side of the piece to the lower.

We found that the pieces “cup” as they dry, curving a bit. As they dry, they can be pressed flat again; we also nested one cookie sheet on top of the other, pressing the pieces flat between the sheets. This worked well.

We found that the dried pieces can be touched up using a broken piece of another object to “sand” rough edges, etc. The finished ornament should last for many, many years.

I recommend getting the cheapest ingredients. Consider using your oldest spices, saving the fresher ones for food use.

I got this recipe from a really cute book called A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by DeDe Wilson (check your local independent bookstore).

2 Responses to “Making Spice-Scented Christmas Ornaments”

  1. Jan says:

    I used to have a recipe simaliar to this. Mine had glue in also. Does your recipe stay together well with no glue?

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Jan, the one’s we made are holding up, but we treat them with kid gloves. I think some glue might be a good idea for future efforts.

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