cinnamon-applesauce ornaments

A yearly holiday tradition for us is making cinnamon-applesauce ornaments. I started making them 12 years ago when I was looking for a “holiday scent” activity to do with my kindergartners. I believe I’ve been making them every year since! The little ladies and I deck our Yule tree with them; they smell so wonderful! They keep their scent for a long time!  We really don’t have to make them every year, we have some that are still intact and still potent from years past; but the holidays wouldn’t be the same without this tradition.


I have tried a couple different recipes but have found this one to be the best:

what you need:
1 cup cinnamon (I buy a bulk container of cinnamon every couple of years just for this activity)
1 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon glue
rolling pin
cookie cutters
parchment paper
cookie sheets

how to:
1. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl and stir. It will be a little crumbly, but easy to form into a ball. It should be similar to cookie dough, add more applesauce if it is too dry; add more cinnamon if it is too wet.
2.Form the dough into a ball.

cinnamon applesauce ornaments

3. Sprinkle some cinnamon onto the counter to prevent sticking, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness.
4. Press out shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Poke holes in the tops of the ornaments with a straw.

baked ornaments

6. Let air dry for a few days or set the oven to 200 degrees and bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake again for 10 min. Continue this dance until they are dry. Could take up to an hour, depending on thickness.
7. Thread with a ribbon and hang on the tree or make a pretty garland with these wonderfully smelling ornaments.


*Note- each year I tend to “burn” my hands with this recipe, I have very sensitive skin though (typical redhead). When I say burn I mean a day after this activity my hands will be very dry and ITCHY. I have never seen this happen to any of the kids I have made this with though, however,  be sure to wash hands often and do not let the dough remnants get really dry on your hands.  I wouldn’t advise using this dough as playdough.


  • December 23, 2010 - 12:05 am | Permalink

    This is four times now that i’ve happened upon on your website in the last two days when searching google for absolutely unrelated stuff. Kinda weird. Keep up the good articles!

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  • December 22, 2010 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    My daughter made one of these in school a couple of years ago. It still smells heavenly!

  • Liana
    December 7, 2010 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

    This is just what I was looking for as a Holiday Kindergarten activity! I made them when I was 8 and now looking forward to sharing them with my daughter and her classmates – 18 in total. Just one question: how many does this recipe make (approximately)?

  • S.
    October 31, 2010 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I just made these today. I collected some different cookie cutters from thrift stores because it is a little early in the season and they MIGHT be cheaper, lol, but some thrift stores around here tend to be quite overpriced for used stuff. I am still going to make another batch before the season is over because I am still on the hunt for different shapes I am missing, like a dove, a gingerbread man and an angel. And plan on giving them to different family for their trees. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • December 19, 2009 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    We just made these this week, thank you so much for sharing the recipe! They smell wonderful and were easy to make. I linked your instructions on my post :)
    Happy Holidays!

  • December 11, 2009 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    thanks for this recipe! i love these ornaments!
    If you coat your hands in a thin layer of olive or massage oil before handling the dough it will protect your skin and should help with the contact dermatitis… water will just make the burn worse though

  • December 10, 2009 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Cinnamon can cause an allergic reaction (more of a contact dermatitis) in some people. My little one gets a rash around her mouth if she eats something with lots of cinnamon. This usually happens when she decides she wants my cinnamon laden oatmeal versus hers or she notices I have toast with cinnamon on it while she has the kind with cinnamon IN it :) I too love these ornaments. I still have some from YEARS ago-the scent faded so i just added a drop of cinnamon oil to them. You have to be super careful with the oil-it is definitely rough on the skin.

  • December 9, 2009 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Great idea, & one I will have to try.

    Could be that straw that causes itchiness. That would have been my first thought anyway. Being dried grass stuff it would quite likely be irritating on skin, just like if you rolled outside on the grass & played in it, or if you jumped in a barn on hay bales. That would make most people itchy I would think. Working with any stuff like dough will dry your skin out from handling but the itchy would be sure to be the straw! Gloves will be good me thinks cos I can’t stand grasses etc on me.

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  • Christy
    December 8, 2009 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    If anyone else is having problems with the dough sticking in the fancier cookie cutters, try dipping the cookie cutter in the cinnamon! It works for just the same reason as putting cinnamon on the counter. Love these!

  • December 7, 2009 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    Love these ornaments, Can’t wait to try them .
    Thank you so much for for sharing the recipe with us!
    Merry Christmas to you and your’s.

  • December 5, 2009 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    These are awesome, Lisa.

    We went out today and got our tree…I think I’m going to make these tonight so we can add them to the tree tomorrow. Love ALL your ideas.


  • Tamra
    December 5, 2009 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I did these with my four year old and three year old. I totally wore gloves – thanks for that notation. I have very sensitive hands. I took the gloves off to make the holes and even the little bit of handling I did with the ornaments to do that made my hands dry. We learned using very simple cookie cutter shapes is best… My son wanted to do motocycles and cars and dinosaurs. They just didn’t work that well… got all stuck in the cracks.

    Love the using up old spices idea. Whee! This was fun!

  • December 5, 2009 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    This is great! I think I may opt for this one instead of salt dough ornaments. :)

  • December 4, 2009 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly what we need to do tomorrow. Thanks!

  • December 4, 2009 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE doing these. A couple of years ago I created some little mini gingerbread men. Last weekend while taking out our decorations, a certain little three year old crushed them accidentally. So, maybe that’s a sign to make some more. Hmmm.. and I think I didn’t use glue, so maybe that would help make them harder. Will try.


  • December 4, 2009 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    We received one of these last year as a gift and it still smells wonderful! I will definitely try this!

  • December 4, 2009 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    This is also a tradition at our house and we often use them to decorate gifts. I never thought of adding glue to the mixture. Will have to try that as I can see how it would be helpful. I often use this recipe to use up my old spices before stocking up for holiday baking and herbal recipes through the rest of the year. I have found that ground allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, etc. go particularly well. We just mix these spices in with the cinnamon and then measure out the cup needed for the recipe.

    I never thought of using them as a garland. Think we will be adding these to the popcorn and cranberry garland we have planned. :)

  • December 4, 2009 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU for this, lisa. we used to make ornaments growing up and i haven’t done it with our kids yet. this year, lala is 5, and so much more “into” all the traditions and festivities!

  • December 4, 2009 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    I’m so making these!!

  • December 4, 2009 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    We love our cinnamon ornaments too – we still have some that are several years old and they still smell…

  • December 4, 2009 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Very very cool! We are always looking for more ornament ideas…thank you!!!

  • December 4, 2009 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Oh I love that! Thanks for the recipe and the reminder of what a neat idea this is. : )

    Have a great weekend!

  • December 4, 2009 - 1:21 am | Permalink

    Mmm. I bet they smell wonderful and festive. What could it be that makes it itchy to the skin though?

    • December 4, 2009 - 8:57 am | Permalink

      I think all that cinnamon has a drying effect to it. The first year I made these, it was AWFUL how red, itchy and chapped my hands were. Now, I’ve learned to wash my hands as the dough just starts to dry on my hands; I’ve also spent all evening applying vitamin E to my hands. I don’t know if it’s just my sensitive hands or what, it’s never happend with anyone else that I know.

  • December 4, 2009 - 12:14 am | Permalink

    I LOVE these! I made like 100 of them last year…:) I tied them with a piece of ripped red checked fabric…it was so festive! I love the shapes you have! SO PRETTY! :)

  • December 3, 2009 - 11:44 pm | Permalink

    What a clever idea!! I’ll have to try to remember this for next year.

  • December 3, 2009 - 11:28 pm | Permalink

    These look fun. I’m going looking for a big ole jar of cinnamon tomorrow!

  • December 3, 2009 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

    These look absolutely lovely, thank you for sharing :)

  • December 3, 2009 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I love making these ornaments, but I lost track of my recipe. Thank you for posting this!

  • December 3, 2009 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    We’ve made those before. Aren’t they delightful! I love that smell!

  • December 3, 2009 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    We made those last year and strung them as a garland. Thanks for reminding me to get them out! I like your star with the wooden beads!

  • December 3, 2009 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    oh wow these sound fabulous. When you say glue, do you mean PVA?

  • December 3, 2009 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous! We just did this very thing this afternoon. I still smell it on my hands — mmmmmmm!

  • December 3, 2009 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh I love making Cinnamon/Applesauce ornaments, they just freshen the room, and they are a blast to correct. Yours look just gorgeous

  • December 3, 2009 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I can only imagine how yummy the kitchen must smell while these goodies are in the oven!
    Great post — I’m right there with you on the overly sensitive hands!

  • December 3, 2009 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

    This looks like a fun activity and one that will smell fabulous. Thanks!

  • Tamra
    December 3, 2009 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    MmmmMmmmm. Soooo gonna do this one too! Thanks for sharing! Another good one to do and give away too! Things like this I like to repurpose… like put them in my socks and undies drawer. I heard another mom talk about using her left over beeswax from her candles… melting them in a double boiler, pouring in holiday candy molds and attaching yarn… voila! Hang them on the tree and the warmth of the lights gives off the wonderful smell… I’m thinking you could put those over or around a heat register too.

  • December 3, 2009 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    These are PERFECT – I was looking for something new/easy/foodish to decorate a small tree in my kitchen. I can’t wait to try these with my little one (and probably the older ones). Thank you so much for sharing!

  • December 3, 2009 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Wow Lisa, this is fun :)
    I love the smell and color!
    This is new to me …..
    Next week we will make them!


  • December 3, 2009 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmmmm….I believe I can smell them! love, Beth

  • December 3, 2009 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    My mom used to make these when I was little. I can still smell them.
    Smells like Christmas.

  • December 3, 2009 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

    We haven’t done these yet this year… maybe if I can get my hands on a huge thing of cinnamon, since we’re doing homemade decorations on the tree this year.
    But small!! They’re so heavy! My babes will probably try to make them six inches around and two inches thick. :)

  • December 3, 2009 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Lisa, you are awesome!
    I made these ornaments years ago before I even had the boys. I still have some of them and they still smell great. I was just thinking yesterday that I wanted to search for the recipe so I could make some with the boys this year. Then I find it right on your blog. Thanks!

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