Tucking cinnamon applesauce ornaments in among your plastic and glass ornaments is a Christmas tree game changer. They're made using cheap, non-toxic ingredients that you probably already have at home, so even young kids can help to make customized snowflake or gingerbread man Christmas ornaments for the tree.
But it's the scent that makes them really special. When you smell cinnamon, other warm spices and apple every time you walk past, you'll want to stop and linger to appreciate your beautiful tree. Easy homemade cinnamon ornaments also make lovely handmade gifts during the holiday season (or any time of year, really). And unlike scented fabric ornaments, they don't require any special materials or crafting skills to create.
This DIY Christmas project is simple but does require a little patience. The dough for this ornament recipe comes together with just a few minutes of prep time but the ornaments need to bake slowly at a low temperature so they get hard enough to hang from the tree without crumbling. Expect this Christmas craft to take a total time of at least three hours from start to finish.
Things You'll Need
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup ground cinnamon, plus a few tablespoons
1/4 cup pumpkin pie spice (optional; see Tip)
1/3 cup white glue like Elmer's
Drinking straw or skewer
Twine or ribbon strips
Glitter and other decorations (optional)
How to Make Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments:
1. Prepare applesauce dough
Combine the applesauce, spices and glue in the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until they're completely combined. Gently knead with your hands if necessary to get the dough to come together. It should be stiff enough to form a ball. Add more glue if the dough is too crumbly.
Break the dough into two balls inside the bowl. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Incorporating pumpkin pie spice adds notes of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice to your ornaments. These perfectly complement the cinnamon and applesauce, but this ingredient isn't strictly necessary. You can leave pumpkin pie spice out or use a smaller amount if you wish. Simply increase the amount of cinnamon you use to make up for it.
2. Roll out the first batch of dough ornaments
Lay down a piece of parchment paper on the counter as a surface for rolling out your dough. Sprinkle the parchment with about 1 t Tbsp. cinnamon to help keep the dough from sticking as you roll it out. Put one of the chilled dough balls on the parchment, keeping the other ball in the fridge for now.
Cover the dough ball with a piece of plastic wrap. This keeps the rolling pin from sticking. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 in. thick.
3. Cut out shapes
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Use cookie cutters to create whatever shapes you want your ornaments to take. Tear a piece of parchment paper to fit onto the cookie sheet. Use a spatula to transfer each ornament to the paper-covered cookie sheet. Use a straw or skewer to create a hole in the top of each ornament where the hanger will go.
Are cinnamon ornaments safe?
Because they smell so yummy, little kids and pets might be curious about tasting cinnamon applesauce ornaments hanging from a tree. The ingredients shouldn't be harmful in small quantities—but you probably don't want to take chances if you have an untrustworthy dog or cat in the house. Hang these "edible" ornaments way out of reach.
4. Repeat with the second batch
Pull the second dough ball out of the fridge and repeat the rolling and cutting process. Keeping the dough cold until you're ready to use it makes it easier to roll it out and transfer the cut ornaments.
5. Bake applesauce ornaments
Put the ornaments in the preheated oven and set a timer for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, press the edge of the spatula into one ornament; if it creates an impression, the dough needs more time to bake. Check again in 30 minutes.
Exact baking time depends on how thinly you rolled the dough; the thicker the ornaments, the longer cook time they'll need.
Like ornaments made from salt dough, cinnamon ornaments can also be allowed to air dry if you're not in a rush. Set the cookie sheet in a location where it won't be jostled and check back in 48 hours.
6. Decorate and hang ornaments
Once cinnamon ornaments are hardened and cool, tie a piece of ribbon or twine through the hole in the top of each ornament and knot it into a loop hanger. You can hang them just like that, or decorate them with more glue and glitter, sequins, paint or other materials.
It's as easy as that! Once you've made a batch of cinnamon applesauce ornaments, you'll hate to put them away with the rest of your Christmas decorations... so don't. Keep them out until you're ready to move on to fresher spring scents, then wrap them in sealed airtight bags to protect them until next Christmas!