Finally, after almost two weeks of being sick, that included a trip to the local Emergency Room, I feel like I'm beginning to get better!! Which is good, because we leave for our Christmas Caribbean Cruise in less than two weeks! YIKES!!
Anyway, I wanted to share my latest project with you. Fortunately, I finished this before Thanksgiving! I made these for a very dear friend and I'm so glad I didn't procrastinate this time! Whew!
So.......GINGERBREAD MEN!! And not just any gingerbread men, mind you. These are made out of .....wait for it.....wait for it.....cinnamon (duh!), glue (Yes, glue!) and applesauce!!! By the way.....NO, they are NOT edible!! But they smell DIVINE and they last for years!!! Reminds you of those cinnamon brooms they always put in the stores right about now! Here's the recipe!
3 cups cinnamon
2 cups applesauce
2/3 cups white school glue
*Whole black peppercorns
*Chopstick (or similarly shaped object)
*White puff paint
*Gloves (if desired)
*Gingerbread cookie cutter
*Wire or old-fashioned hairpins (Cut into small "U" shapes, about half an inch long. These will be inserted into the head for hangers.)
*Cool, dry space (These will need to air dry on the cooling racks for about five days!)
Mix the cinnamon, applesauce and glue in a metal or glass bowl, then remove from the bowl and knead the mixture until it turns into a firm "clay" consistency.
Refrigerate for about half an hour to chill, then roll it out to about 1/2" thickness. Try to be as consistent as possible with the thickness. Also, use cinnamon to dust the surface of your area and the rolling pin, to keep everything from sticking.
Using the cookie cutter, start cutting out gingerbread men. I usually just pinch off enough dough to roll out one or two at a time. Remember to sprinkle cinnamon on your cookie cutter too, to keep it from sticking. Lay the gingerbread men on a cooling rack.
Once you've laid out all your cut gingerbread men, take your chopstick and and carefully press indentations (not going all the way through) to make space for the eyes, a nose, and four buttons on his tummy.
Carefully insert the "U" shaped wire into the top of the center of the head until just enough remains at the top to run a hanger or thread through for hanging on the Christmas tree.
Now you get to WAIT! Like five days worth of waiting, though sometimes it only takes 4 days. It just depends on your home temperature, etc. The gingerbread men will start to turn a slightly paler color when they're dry.
Once dry, put dabs of glue into the small indentations made earlier, then place whole peppercorns into the indentations. This will make the eyes, nose, and buttons! The glue will dry clear, so don't worry if it doesn't go into the indentations perfectly. Now take puffy paint and outline the gingerbread men as desired.
You can either wait until the glue and peppercorns dry before painting, or just do one right after the other. The picture taken above shows painting before all the glue dried, which is why you can still see it in some areas.
As I mentioned earlier, these literally last for years. All you have to do is store them carefully in an air-tight container. I've had some of mine for about 5 years now. The cinnamon smell eventually starts to lessen, so instead of making more, you might just put some cinnamon oil on them to "liven them up" after a few years.
Each recipe makes about 20-22 gingerbread men. And there you have it! Gingerbread men for the holidays!
I hope each of you have a lovely Christmas season and a happy New Year 2018!
May God Bless,