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11.28.2005

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dough it right how to make salt dough ornaments by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

basic salt dough
1 cup fine-grained salt
cup very warm tap water, or a smidge more
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cooking oil (for a smoother dough)

For colored salt dough, you'll also need some food coloring. The cheapie liquid kind works, but you may find you need to add a smidge more flour to keep the dough workable. Alternatively, the pricier concentrated gel paste food coloring will give you the brightest, deepest hues without adding much liquid to the mix.

spiced salt dough
For a yummy smell and a naturally pretty brown hue, try this variation.

1 cup fine-grained salt
cup very warm tap water, or a smidge more
1 cups flour
cup cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. cooking oil

1 Whichever version of the dough you're using, combine the salt and warm water in a big mixing bowl; stir well until the water turns cloudy and the salt is just about dissolved. Stir in the oil.
2 In another bowl, add the flour. If you're making the spiced dough, you'll also want to stir in the spices with a fork, until well combined.
3 Add the flour/flour mixture to the liquid a little at a time, and use a wooden spoon to work it in. The mixture will start to clump up; when the spoon stops doing anything, switch to your hands and start kneading. You want to get the dough to the point where it feels cohesive and has some elasticity to it; this'll take at least five minutes or so of kneading, and as much as ten. You may find that you need to add a smidge more water to get the dough soft and pliable; add the water just a few drops at a time as needed. When the dough starts to come together, it also helps to switch to kneading on the countertop rather than in the bowl.
4 At this point, if you're working with the basic salt dough and want to create some pretty colors, separate the dough into however many colors you want. Get yourself some rubber gloves and put them on, as working with food coloring tends to produce a bit of a mess. Place a lump of dough in a stainless steel (or other non-porous, non-food-coloring-absorbing) bowl; drop some food coloring on the dough. Work the coloring into the dough, kneading until you have a nice uniform color, and adding more food coloring as necessary until you're happy with the hue. Bear in mind that colors will fade a lot once the dough is baked, so it's best to get the colors fairly vivid. If the dough starts getting sticky from the liquid in the food coloring, add in a little more flour as necessary.
5 Store the bits of dough in a tightly sealed container, or wrapped snugly in plastic wrap, until you're ready to use.

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