This is a fun recipe that is easy to make and also smells great. We make these in our class each year.
1 1/2 cups of cinnamon (I buy it in bulk from Costco)
1 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup white school glue
Mix the cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes until it is the consistency of cookie dough. If it seems a little hard, add a little water.
Put the dough in a zip loc bag, removing all of the air before sealing. Cover the dough with the damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. (I always find that the dough dries out too much. I would recommend letting it rest for only 15 minutes.) The dough is easier to use if it is room temperature, so do not refrigerate.
Next, take the dough out of the zip loc bag and knead the dough again. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick onto a smooth surface such as a thin cutting board, wax paper, aluminum foil, or a cookie sheet. Cut out shapes of your choice.
While dough is still wet, poke a hole in each ornament. Coffee stirrer straws work well for this step.
Flip them a few times a day so they will dry flat and evenly. The ornaments will shrink a little while drying. It takes 3-5 days for them to dry (2-3 days in warm weather).
Once they are dry, decorate and then thread a ribbon or piece of yarn through the hole for hanging.
We made a batch and a half of the dough and ended up with 20 gingerbread boy ornaments, two hearts, and one little blob.
Below are a few tips I have learned over the years that make these ornaments a little easier to make.
Don’t cut the shapes too close together. It is more difficult to remove the dough around each shape when they are cut so close together. I do this every year and then remember that it is much easier to remove the dough by cutting one shape at a time and then keeping the cookie cutter in place while using a knife to remove the excess cookie dough around the cookie cutter shape. The disadvantage to this however is that it takes up a lot of space and you have to keep rolling out the dough.
If you run out of cutting board sheets, use wax paper, which works almost as well as a surface to roll out the rest of the shapes. I used wax paper instead of aluminum foil because I was afraid that the aluminum foil might crinkle and make indents in the back of the ornaments. Of course cookie sheets would also work if only I remembered to bring them to work.
After cutting out all of the shapes, carefully move the ornaments off of the wax paper onto the aluminum foil (I find that the wax paper gets to wet and is harder to move the shapes later as they set into the wax paper). Then wash the cutting board sheets and move them once again (very carefully) to consolidate them an hour or so after they start to set.
We use glitter glue to decorate the ornaments. You can also use acrylic paints or fabric paints. I was in a rush when I decorated my “test ornament” Friday afternoon. The glitter glue was not cooperating. It was globbed at the bottom of all of the containers after sitting in the closet all year. The poor guy looks like he is cross-eyed. At least it gives you an idea of how cute they could look if decorated properly (use your imagination).
**Make sure to tell everyone they are not edible or put a note on each ornament saying DO NOT EAT. We left one in the librarian’s box at school a couple of years ago. She later told me that when she opened her box she was so thrilled to see a gingerbread cookie because she hadn’t eaten all day and was so hungry. She took a big bite out of the ornament and then spit it thinking we were horrible cooks. Only later when looking at the gingerbread boy more closely, did she realize that it was a non-edible ornament decorated with glitter. I laughed so hard when she told me this. I now warn everyone.