Confession time: I am a complete control freak about crafting with my kids. I don't care how big of a mess they make...so long as they don't mess up mine. Sigh. It's horrible, I know. I'm the mom. They have to learn. Who really cares?!?
I'm working on it. Really. This fall when we were carving pumpkins I kept getting twitchy each time Jane reached her sharpie over to try and put a scribble on my pumpkin. It was ridiculous. I eventually gave myself a lesson in letting go and let her draw on my carved pumpkin. All over it's face.
Then I had a beer.
Last week Jane and I made some salt dough ornaments. I admit to purposefully waiting until Jimmy was taking his nap to roll them out and paint them. Hey, I let them help mix it all up with me. (And what a mess of baking supplies that was!)
I changed the recipe up a bit though because salt dough is stinky. So I added some chocolate and some cinnamon and some coffee. When you bake these puppies your house will reek of lovely yummy baked goods.
Disclaimer: Do not try to eat these salted cinnamon mocha dough ornaments after you have baked them. They will break your teeth. And taste like crap. Better then plain old salt dough ornaments, but still, like crap.
Salted Cinnamon Mocha Dough Ornaments:
1 cup flour (use what you have, AP, wheat, etc. I used bread flour.)
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp coffee (use the leftovers at the bottom of the pot. Or water.)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Mix all your ingredients together. Get fancy. Break out the stand mixer. Use a spatula to make sure all dry ingredients get incorporated. Mix for a few minutes until dough is smooth. Resist the urge to pop a bit into your mouth. These are the best diet cookies!
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your favorite holiday shapes (skull and crossbones are Christmas-y, no?) Once you get all your ornaments cut out and on baking sheets, take a drinking straw and poke a hole in the top of each ornament. If you want to stitch up an ornament like the stars, poke more holes.
Bake ornaments at 200 degrees for three to five hours. Yeah, hours. You want to bake this puppies until there is no moisture left in them and they are completely hardened. Don't sweat it tough because for three to five hours your house will smell like heaven. Seriously. My husband came home from work during this step and got all excited thinking I had baked something for dessert.
After your salted cinnamon mocha dough ornaments cool completely it's time to decorate! Any acrylic paint will work on your ornaments. Acrylic paint is good because it will dry fast. Children have little patience. (Okay, fine. Me too.) I painted mine with gesso which is white acrylic paint with a polymer added. It's intent is to prime canvases for artwork, but it works fantastic for these. I like it because it is very opaque. And Jane's monstrous glops of it dry out fairly quickly. You can find it at and crafting or art stores.
Once your paint is dried, paint or spray your salted cinnamon mocha dough ornaments with a clear coat. Make sure to cover all surfaces. You want to seal the ornament from getting any moisture in it. After Christmas store your ornaments in a cool dry place.
Thread yarn, embroidery floss or ribbon through the holes in the ornaments and you're done! Hang on the tree or even use as fancy schmancy gift tags. Jane is still super excited about them on our tree. I think salted cinnamon mocha dough ornaments will be an annual tradition in our house.