Cinnamon Spice Ornaments & Fragrance Balls

Fill your house with the scent of cinnamon and spice this winter! These fragrant ornaments are perfect for a tabletop tree or to hang in the kitchen. They smell wonderful and retain their fragrance for several years.

1 jar cinnamon (approx. 4 ounces/1 cup) slightly more or less; start with approximately ½ cup

1–2 tablespoons cloves (use the larger amount for a darker ornament, and slightly decrease the cinnamon)

1 tablespoon nutmeg (you can include allspice, mace, or ‘pumpkin pie spice’)

½ to ¾ cup applesauce

2 tablespoons white glue (Elmer’s white glue works well)

A thin skewer, straw, or toothpick to make a hole for hanging

Ribbon for hanging (1/8 to ¼ inch width) & Paints (optional)

There are several variations of this recipe, but most contain approximately equal amounts of cinnamon and other spices mixed with applesauce, with a small amount of glue added for strength.

In a small to medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (and other spices), sifted together for even distribution. Add spice mixture to applesauce and glue; stir to combine. Work mixture with hands for 2 to 3 minutes, until dough is smooth and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. It resembles pie crust dough. Divide dough into 2 or 3 portions. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1–2 hours. The dough can be refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before you continue.

Knead briefly, then roll each portion to 1/4" thickness on a board lightly dusted with cinnamon to prevent sticking. Cut into shapes with small cookie cutters (dipped in cinnamon) or cut the dough into freeform shapes. Smaller size cookie or canapé cutters work best. Good choices: gingerbread men and women, small bears, or stars. Heart shapes can be used for Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Make a small hole in the top of each ornament for hanging. Place cutouts on wire racks and allow to dry at room temperature (this can take several days). Daily turning will give you a flatter ornament with less warping. When the ornaments are thoroughly dry, add decorative touches, for example, a small red heart for a gingerbread man, or a child’s name. Thread ribbon through hole in ornament, tie an overhand knot close to the ornament, with another spaced 2-3 inches away to form a hanging loop. Trim ends at a slight angle.

Recipe makes approx. 32 (2-inch) ornaments. Recipe may be halved.

Young helpers should be supervised. These ornaments are not edible.

Variation 1: Scented Heart Wreath

Prepare Scented Cinnamon Spice Ornament recipe as directed. Cut dough with heart-shaped cookie cutters, but omit the hanging hole. Dry cutouts as directed above. Glue dried hearts onto a wooden hoop, placing points of hearts toward the center. Attach ribbon and decorate as desired.

Variation 2: Cinnamon Spice Balls

Follow the basic recipe. You may wish to add 1/2 teaspoon of orris root as a preservative. You can omit the glue, although I find it works well to include it. Break off a small amount of dough, knead between hands until soft and malleable, then roll into a round ball. Small cracks can be repaired with a finger dipped in apple sauce. Roll in cinnamon-spice mixture. Allow to dry.

For a fragrant and attractive display, combine Cinnamon Spice balls with small pieces of dried orange peel. Fresh citrus peel can be studded with cloves for fragrance and interest; air dry on a rack.

Rhonda Haavisto, The New England Unit of the Herb Society of America, Inc. 12/99

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