the paint cut paste history of salt dough ornaments goes something like this: i used to be able to eat gluten, and when i did, the homemade play dough squished all over our kitchen. when N was almost 2.5 years old (2009,) we made these (yummy smelling!) cinnamon dough ornaments (yep in the summer; we like to plan ahead) and when she was almost 3 years old, (near christmastime, like normal people) we made salt dough ornaments. close to valentines’s day 2010, we made these salt dough hearts into garland.
last christmas (2010) we skipped the dough ornament part of our christmas tradition altogether because our kitchen became gluten free a few months prior, and i found it daunting enough to cook with weird and expensive flours. at the time, gluten free crafting seemed like way too much. i guess i’ve adjusted because i now know it’s not. we created the simplest of gluten free salt dough ornaments yesterday.
i was (p)inspired by a lot of pretty salt dough ornaments i saw around the web this year, like these and these, and the lovely ones tinkerlab posted yesterday. so yesterday afternoon, i figured we’d give a gluten free version a shot, and i searched for recipes. the one we ended up using is from the spunky coconut. they made cute pretend fruit with their dough, so it took a while for them to bake their thick pieces, but even our thin ornaments were not quick at all! here’s what we did:
- bring 1 cup of water to (barely) a boil
- add 1 cup of salt, stir and dissolve for about a minute (not all of the salt dissolves. i guess that’s okay.)
- pour salt and water over 1 cup of cornstarch and mix together
- add 1/4 cup of cold water
- add 2 tbsp oil (i used canola. you might want to go with 1.5 tbsp instead, in hindsight)
- mix and kneed the clay like dough. if the dough is too wet and sticky, add more corn starch till it has a playdough consistency. (i had to sprinkle ours a few times with corn starch.) N and i both loved how white and smooth (and a bit oily) this dough felt to play with!
N rolled the dough until it was about 1/4″ thick. she’s a sucker for a rolling pin.
we cut some circles (large and small,) stars, and a few trees (with fingerprints in them to be decorated later.) we used a straw to make holes in each one for stringing. i even stamped a few (with regular rubber stamps) to see if i could get snowflake patterns and such to show up, but this sort of dough didn’t take well to that detail once baked.
for the first hour, i baked the ornaments on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 200 degrees F. then, i increased the temperature to 220 degrees because they were still quite soft. a half hour later, i put it on 245 F. all in all, these took about 3 hours to bake, and some of the thicker ones are still a bit soft in the centers. my advice is to make sure they’re rolled out pretty thin, then start out by baking at 245 degrees F.
they are pretty sweet because they’re very white, have a salt-sparkle to them, and are translucent once they’re baked. they also have a bit of oil on the surface. i’m wondering how this will effect our plans to paint them. maybe use a smidge less oil if you try this.
N is excited to paint them. i have ideas for some stamping, as well. stay tuned…