I will give you this heads-up. I had done a little research on salt dough before I prepared ours yesterday because when I made it two years ago I was flummoxed by the consistency and annoyance of the process, so I'm going to share how I made this batch because it was really simple and non-stressful, and that's what we're all about around here, right? I mixed one cup of iodized table salt (48 cents at the Dollar General!!) with two cups of all purpose flour and one cup of warm tap water. I threw that stuff in the Kitchen Aid until it was mixed, then I put on the dough hook and let the mixer knead the dough for a solid ten minutes. The dough was very, very smooth and pliable, and I remembered it being grainy and difficult to work the last time, so I think the extensive mechanical kneading was a great success. Then I rolled that goop out, cut the shapes, poked some holes for ribbons, and baked the ornaments at 300 degrees for just under two hours. I started checking them at one hour, and kept them in the oven until the middles weren't squishy anymore. The only thing I'll do differently in the future is the step The Artful Parent mentioned. Next time around, I'll roll the dough directly onto parchment paper (or my handy silicone faux parchment paper) before I cut the shapes. The edges really do get a bit wonky when you have to peel the shapes off your countertop. Not that it matters because the ornaments were painted by a three-year-old...they were destined to look a little wonky anyway. We painted the ornaments with acrylic paint and added glitter and little fake jewels. Now they're drying...and once some ribbons are added, those suckers will find homes on Christmas trees throughout the family.
*The recipe makes enough for more than a half dozen ornaments. We're giving some baked and unpainted ornaments to a friend to paint, and I threw away the scraps instead of re-rolling/re-cutting. You could safely get about a half dozen ornaments out of the recipe amounts I referenced.
Now, the sweet thing I mentioned in the post title. It's really a small thing. When the fruit slices were all cut up for the gumdrop cookies yesterday, there were a couple of handfuls leftover. As M loves them, I threw them into a mason jar to keep for him. Now there's a mason jar of brightly colored fruit slices sitting on the kitchen shelf. For some reason, I am unable to look at their colorful sugariness and not smile. That jar is making me so happy. I might be a little unbalanced.