When I started working on this recipe for salt dough, I had no idea of its potential. Now, I share how this will be YOUR new Christmas tradition!
A recipe for salt dough on a cookie hop?
As I begin to write this post, I can’t help but wonder if it will resonate with anyone! Why? Because the recipe I’m about to share is all about creating a TRADITION and NOT about making a delicious cookie to eat!
This all started with an online cookie hop. This is like a cookie exchange you’ve probably attended yourself, except that it’s online. All of the “guests” are bloggers, and we’re all sharing a cookie recipe for you to use this Christmas (or anytime if you love them enough)!
(Btw, all of the cookie recipes are available at the bottom of the post for you to check out!)
As I started thinking about what to share it struck me that I’ve been baking A LOT! And while I do love to bake and eat cookies, for me the fun comes in the decorating. Eating too many cookies, while awesome at the moment, ends up making me feel “UGHHH”.
Thus the challenge, how can I participate in a cookie hop without eating a ton of cookies? AND have fun decorating them?
My answer, share a recipe for salt dough cookies that can be made year after year. Decorating them as a tradition! And because this is a recipe for salt dough, they can become keepsakes.
And so that is what I’m sharing today. Here is a recipe for salt dough, which I hope you’ll use to make cookies to display each year. Sharing a special time together with the loves of your life that becomes a Christmas tradition. ♥️
Let me get sappy just for a moment before moving on … I LOVE traditions. Just like Hallmark movies, they fill my heart. I’m imagining having my future grandchildren to visit. Each year making a new batch of salt dough cookies that we can date and display. Watching the display grow as they age. Ah, a happy heart!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
GEtting together your ingredients
I researched a lot to come up with this recipe for salt dough. They’re all slightly different, so I combined what I think are the good parts of each. I had to tweak the measurements a bit as I went. In the end, this is the fundamental recipe for salt dough that works:
- 4 cups Flour
- 1 cup Salt
- 1 3/4 cup (+/-) Warm Water
To this, I added some spices. I like the way the spices just slightly color the dough to make it look more like my sugar cookie recipe. It also had the kitchen smelling DELICIOUS while baking!
Noting that I didn’t buy any spices for this recipe. I simply used what I had on hand, which I suggest to you as well. Go through your spices to see what you think smells yummy and go with it!
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Ground Cloves
- 2 tsp Nutmeg
Next, let’s get this bad boy into shape!
Mixing without dignity
Since this was my first time making salt dough, I made two batches in order to experiment.
For the first batch, I threw into my mixer and blended all the ingredients together in the KitchenAid Mixer for a few minutes. I had to continue on to knead it by hand on the counter afterward but it wasn’t hard and came together really quickly.
On to the second batch, I mixed it all by hand in a large metal bowl. Like the first batch, I threw in all the ingredients and started kneading away. It took a while. Much longer than the first technique.
My conclusion, and recommendation, use a mixer first and then knead as needed (tongue twister) by hand on the counter.
If you find the dough too dry, add a little bit more water. Too wet? Add a little bit more flour. This is a very forgiving recipe and is perfect to do with little helpers (heartstrings, again).
cut outs to oven
Again, playing scientist, my experimentation continued and I chilled the first batch as I would my delicious gingerbread cookie cutouts. This recipe for salt dough doesn’t favor refrigeration. It worked much better straight from mixing to rolling.
The rest of the process, however, is just like making cutout cookies. Sprinkle a little flour on a clean counter. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut using your favorite Christmas shapes and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
I tried making the cutouts thicker to see if they would be more stable for handling, yet in the end, a 1/2 inch seemed to work the best. Any thicker and the cookies became a little puffy in sections. I still decorated them, yet as you can see in some of the photos, the surface isn’t level when they’re thicker than 1/2 inch.
Oh, quick note, don’t chill them after cutting into shapes. The edges hold perfectly so it’s not needed.
Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. You can flip halfway through but I didn’t think this made a difference although some recipes for salt dough that I researched included this step.
now to the fun part … decorating
This is ADDICTING! The decorating, or painting, was so much fun! First, let’s go through the steps of decorating. Remember to make sure the cookies are COMPLETELY cool before decorating. You can let them sit overnight to dry out a bit too, although I just let them cool.
You’ll need (at a minimum) the following:
- Tulip Puffy Paint
- Acrylic Paint
- Craft Glue
- Paint Brushes
- Disposable snack cups
- Wood Craft Sticks
- Sharpie Marker
- Mod Podge
First step: Outline the cookie shape
For piping, I’m showing Tulip Puffy paint. Its perfect consistency for piping makes this a no brainer. Use it straight from the tube and DON’T follow the instructions for making it puffy. Just use it as-is.
Outline the entire cookie right along the edge.
I found this to be MUCH easier than decorating real cookies because the cookies themselves are much harder and sturdier. This allows for picking up and handling as the piping proceeded.
To get the best line, only tap the tip down at the start, end, and anytime a change of direction is needed. Other than that, drag the paint tip just hovering over the cookie and let the paint fall onto the cutout as you drag either your hand or the cookie.
Let the paint dry for an hour or more.
Second step: flood the cookie
With this recipe for salt dough, “flooding” isn’t really accurate. It’s more of a paint and smooth process.
First, combine craft glue, acrylic paint, and water in a 1: 1: 1/4 ratio. I eyeballed the measurements adding more glue as needed to thicken. Mix it with a craft stick in a little snack cup.
In small quantities, straight from the snack cup, pour the paint and glue mix onto the center of the cookie shape. Then use a paintbrush to fill inside the piping. Finish by smoothing the paint with the paintbrush adding more paint as needed for coverage.
I was surprised by how much I like the semi-sheer white glitter paint. I think it’s really pretty especially with the green tree shape and black flourishes.
Allow to dry for at least 2 hours.
Third step: add details
Now just have fun! Grab the puffy paint again and start adding details.
With my typical Royal Icing cookies (e.g., fall leaf cookies), I have a plan in mind. Not here! I just played. Adding swirls and flourishes, dots and lines, words, and squiggles.
I still need work on my writing yet overall, I love how they came out!
Allow to dry at least overnight! More if you have the time.
Fourth step: Autograph your artwork
While this is obviously optional if you’re going to make this an annual tradition, be sure to sign and date the back.
Then, when the years go by and your technique improves, you can look back and have a chronicle of your, or your little helper’s, development.
fifth step: seal the cookie
Once they have really dried out for a day or more, use a seal to protect the cookie and paint color. I had Mod Podge Hard Coat on hand so that’s what I used. I think some of the other Mod Podge varieties will work just as well, especially if you prefer a glossy finish.
You can also use Krylon spray acrylic coating. I have that on hand as well, however, we live in upstate New York and it’s December. It’s always a challenge to find ventilation that’s warm enough for spraying in the winter. Mod Podge was much easier.
I lined cookie sheets with parchment paper. Then, one cookie at a time, I covered the edges, back, and front with Mod Podge using a paintbrush. Even though the back was wet, the cookies came off of the parchment paper easily.
You can do more than one coat of Mod Podge if you choose. I just did one!
They will be dry to the touch in a few hours. The directions say that they aren’t completely cured for 4 weeks. For that reason, I would hold off on packing them away with your other Christmas decorations until 4 weeks have passed.
What a recipe for salt dough can become
Wasn’t this fun! I absolutely LOVE how they came out and will definitely be doing this each year and maybe during the year too. This recipe for salt dough would make fantastic keepsakes for special times like weddings, baby showers, and other milestones.
If you enjoy this post, check out some of my other creative options for projects:
Okay, are you ready to see what other recipes my cookie hopping blogger friends have come up with?
Let’s see what else my blogging pals have happening in their kitchens!
- Nana’s Italian Cookies | Cottage on Bunker Hill
- Easy Christmas Cookies | Stacy Ling
- The Best Cookie Cutter Cookies | B4 and Afters
- J Dub’s Butter Pecan Cookies | J Dubby Design
- Christmas Pudding Cookies | Hammers n Hugs
- Flo’s Hunky Cookies | Shop at Blu
- Chewy Gingersnap Cookies | My Home and Travels
- 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge | Everyday Edits
- Snow on Plowed Ground Cookies | MTB Home Living
- Chocolate Chai Tea Cakes | A Loverly Life
- Wait Until You See These Mug Cookies | Back Porch Bliss
- How to Make Christmas cookies with an Embossed Rolling Pin | Chalking Up Success
- Easy 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies | Just Jill
- Fritos Trail Mix-Snack Mix with Fritos! | Now Choose Life
- I Love this Scottish Shortbread | Feet Under My Table
Still, want to see more? I have your back. Check out ASC’s Pinterest Boards, where there are always new pins happening! In fact, better yet, follow ASC on Pinterest so you know when I add more to my boards (I find great pins!).
Do you have a question or a suggestion? No problem! Email me with all of it and I’m happy to respond.
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Have a fantastic week! Namaste,