In A Love Restored, Benjamin is surprised to discover these simple salt dough ornaments hanging on Ruth Ann’s tree rather than fancy store-bought ornaments that might be more fitting a woman of her station. These homemade decorations are a long-standing tradition for the Sutton family.
Here is the recipe that inspired this scene in the book and one I made with my daughter and her girl scout troop many years ago. I hope that you will enjoy making these with your family and perhaps find a new Christmas tradition.
What You’ll Need
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Iodized Table Salt
1T Ground Cloves
4T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Water
White Tulip Slick Fabric Paint
Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Protective Coat
Baker’s Twine, Ribbon, or String
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Add your warm water to the flour mixture. Stir well. It will come together. If you feel like you absolutely need more moisture, add no more than 2 teaspoons.
- Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper. Aim for about 1/4 of an inch thickness.
- Using your cookie cutters of choice, cut out your shapes and place them on your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Use a straw to cut the hole that will be used to hang your ornaments. Don’t forget this step! Once these are dry it will be impossible to punch a hole in them.
- Place your ornaments into the oven for 10 minutes. If you’d rather not bake them, they can set out overnight to dry.
- Remove your ornaments from the oven. Let them set for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then flip them all over. Let them continue to set on the cookie sheet until they’re completely cooled.
- Decorate: For a richer gingerbread color, create a gouache with 1 part red, 2 parts yellow, 1 part brown. Use Tulip Slick Paint for outlining and adding details. It puffs up a little as you apply it but then dries hard. If you mess it up, you can peel it off once its dry to the touch.
- Once ornaments are completely dry, use a clear matte Rust-Oleum spray to protect the “icing.”
- Thread festive string or ribbon through the hole and enjoy the seasonal smell!
- Smaller cookie cutters tend to work best.
- Ornaments do not need to be trimmed. No doubt, Ruth Ann would have had the simpler, right out of the oven style hanging on her tree.
- To keep your ornaments fresh, store in an air-tight container. If the scent fades, add a drop of scented oil to freshen.
- Consider sharing with friends by attaching to presents or gift bags
- Spare dough can be turned into round Scandinavian style snowflakes
- Note: Although the ornaments are made with real food ingredients, they are NOT edible.
**All images courtesy of Stay and Roam Blog