Monday, October 11, 2010

Holiday Decorating Occasional Series part 1 of 5 - Scented Dough

The contributors and members of The Essential Herbal yahoo group have been discussing and trying to locate recipes for Herb Bowls.  We eventually located a description that included powdered spices.  That put me to thinking of two ways that I had been using to make scented ornaments that might also be used to create these bowls.  So to start my winter decoration and gift giving series I decided to share those recipes.  You can make them as either ornaments or bowls as the recipes create rich and seasonally scented items, that if stored properly can last several years.

Recipe One - Herbal Dough

This first is a non-edible Herb dough that can be rolled and cut with cookie cutters to make ornaments and also formed around a shape to make bowls.

Herbal Dough Ornaments
2 cups bleached (white) flour
3/4 to 1 cup steeped Cinnamon Spice Tea *
1/4 cup Salt
1 T. powdered orris root
Ground and whole cloves, nutmeg, and allspice
Food coloring, if desired

Boil water and steep tea for three to five minutes one bag of Cinnamon Spice Tea.  Then mix the flour, tea, salt, dessert blend, and orris root.  Mix well.  The final product will be uneven shades of beige, tan, and off-white.  At this time, you may wish to divide into several batches for tinting with food coloring.  Form the dough into 2” diameter balls by rolling between your hands or against a non-stick counter top.  OR roll flat and utilize your favorite cookie cutters to make festive shapes.

Sprinkle the ground cloves, nutmeg and allspice, either combined or separate, into a flat dish. Roll the balls in the ground spices or lightly press the cookie cutter shapes into the spices.  Then decorate using the whole spices. 

Insert a metal ornament hanger or an unfolded paperclip.  Bake in a low heat (no more than 150 degrees) for about 90 minutes.

These make wonderful homemade ornaments for a tree, wreath, garland, or holiday basket.  It is easy to do and gets the whole family involved in the decoration process.

* An exclusive, Backyard Patch herbal product, you can substitute any cinnamon based tea and plain ground cinnamon for these items.

Recipe Two - Applesauce Scented Balls

The second dough is a base of applesauce blended with ground spices.  I use this recipe to make scented balls which I hang on my herb and pine wreathes.  I have made this recipe with Girl Scout and adult groups many times.  The dough is sticky, but dried to a hard surface in a couple of hours and thoroughly dries in a few days.

I made up a batch last night and fashioned a few bowl shapes about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter, thinking I can hang them from my tree this year.

Scent Applesauce Dough
(non-toxic, but I would not recommend eating htem)

1 cup applesauce, divided
¾ cup ground cinnamon
2 Tbls. ground cloves
1 Tbls. ground allspice
1 Tbls. ground nutmeg

Start with ½ cup applesauce and add spices, stir with a wooden or plastic spoon.  Add up to ½ cup more applesauce as needed to make a sticky but not runny dough.

To craft scented balls for wreathes and trees roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  Use a skewer to piece the center for ribbon to hang them.  The balls will dry to the touch in a few hours, but will take several days to become fully dry.

To see the detailed photographs of actual bowls made with ground spices, see the post for today 10/11/10 on the Essential Herbal Blog.

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