Over the weekend, my daughter, Vayda, and I constructed a colossal gingerbread house. Actually, more like a 12x16x12-inch country chapel with a 6x3x12-inch entryway attached to the front. It was quite an undertaking.
Saturday we spent about 2 hours making dough, 40 minutes getting new hand beaters after we killed the first ones on the first batch of dough and another 2 hours making a second batch of dough. We refrigerated the dough overnight. Then Sunday we spent about 6 hours cutting and baking the gingerbread pieces, constructing the chapel and decorating. All that time and it still ended up without a roof because the walls were a little too thin to support one. (We made an indoors scene instead.)
Who knew a gingerbread house would be so much work? Probably plenty of people, but that’s not how I went into the project.
Following up that ambitious venture, I think Vayda and I will try something a little simpler — making salt-dough Christmas ornaments. I vaguely remember making them in preschool, pressing a handprint into a small circle to give my mom. Sometime during the last 27 years that ornament parished, but it could be a fun project to try again.
Making salt-dough ornaments
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup salt
- ¾ cup water
- Mixing bowl
- Cookie sheet
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Rolling pin
- Holiday cookie cutters
- Ribbon or yarn
- Watercolor paints and paintbrush
- Combine all of the ingredients n your mixing bowl and mix together with your hands until you form an easy-to-knead, elastic dough. If your dough seems too dry, add a little more water. If it seems too wet and sticky, add a little more flour.
- Form the dough into a ball.
- Preheat your oven to 170 F.
- Cover your cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread flour on the surface of the table/counter you’re going to be using.
- Roll out the dough ball until it’s about ¼-inch thick.
- Use your cookie cutters or free-hand as many shapes as you can.
- Transfer your cut-outs to the cookie pan using the spatula.
- Poke holes in the top-center of each shape using the toothpick.
- Bake your ornaments in the oven for 1 hour.
- Take your ornaments out of the oven and check to see if they are done. If they are hard when you press into them, they are done. If the dough indents, they need to go back in for 10-15 minutes.
- Let your ornaments cool for a half-hour after they are done baking.
- Paint your ornaments with watercolor paints.
- When your ornaments have dried, attach a piece of ribbon or yarn to hang them on your tree.
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