Years and years ago in a galaxy far away . . . okay, maybe not quite that long ago, and I’m living in the same county now, so not far away either—but it was about thirty years ago when we were living at Wymount Terrace and attending BYU, where I first experienced the wonderful scent of Cinnabears.
For a Relief Society meeting (a women’s group at my church) we had a “make-a-craft day” and one of the items we could make were Cinnabears. They were sculpted from a dough made of cinnamon and applesauce, which when dry exude a subtle, delightful odor. True to form,though, my efforts looked like someone tried very hard (and didn’t succeed). My friend, Gisle, took pity on me and my lumpy, oddly-shaped “bears” and deftly made several adorable little bears exuding personality and finished with red ribbon bows, and gave them to me. I let them dry and then that Christmas I hung them on my tree. After Christmas, I carefully wrapped them up in cotton and tissue paper and boxed them to be stored with my Christmas decor. Every year for twenty years, Gisele’s Cinnabears made an annual appearance at Christmas. As the years wore on, the cinnamon scent faded, but my memories of her generosity remained warm. Finally, time and children had taken their toll, and the bears were broken and crumbled and I had to throw them away. I still miss them.
Last year, for a grandma night, I found a recipe that seems similar to the one we used years ago, and my granddaughter and I made Cinnabears, and had a delightful time.True to form, mine ended up being lumpy, almost bear-like forms but, on the plus side, they smell good. The important thing was creating a memory with my granddaughter, and in the process, I was able to revisit a fond memory of a sweet friend. Gisele, this post is dedicated to you! Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Cinnamon-Applesauce Dough Ornaments
1 cup ground cinnamon (buy at a bulk food store)
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons non-toxic white glue
Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well, until the dough is smooth and holds together well. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more cinnamon until it reaches the consistency you like. If the dough is too crumbly, add a little more applesauce.Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookie shapes as desired, rerolling the dough to use up scraps.
The dough may also be used like modeling clay to sculpt figures, beads and shapes, though these will take more or less time than flat cookies, depending on their size.
If you intend to hang the ornaments, be sure to punch holes through the shapes while the dough is still pliable. Let the cookies dry at room temperature for at least 2 days. They may also be dried in a very low oven (under 200°F)
Makes enough dough for about 32 2″ sized cookie cutters.
(Recipe from Cooks.com)