Make edible Christmas ornaments this year! These 4 homemade sugar Christmas ornaments are so pretty and incredibly easy to make! DIY candy Christmas decorations are easy last-minute Christmas DIY crafts for kids.
Sugar ornaments are traditional Christmas tree ornaments. One of the following sugar ornament recipes was even published 280 years ago in 1741!
These edible Christmas tree decorations glitter like ice and snow. But these sparkling candy Christmas ornaments aren’t just pretty: When Christmas is over, you can eat the sugar ornaments (or use them for cakes and cookies in place of regular sugar)!
History Of Sugar Christmas Ornaments
Did you know that edible sugar and candy ornaments are one of the most traditional Christmas tree decorations? Long before glass baubles were used to decorate the Christmas tree, molded sugar ornaments were already used as edible Christmas tree decorations. In the Middle Ages, edible Christmas ornaments were made with sugar, gum tragacanth and rosewater (recipe below) and shaped with wooden and metal cookie molds. And in the Victorian era, the Christmas tree was often simply called “sugar tree” because it was decorated with apples, nuts and candy. Christmas candy and sugar decorations could be bought in the store or be made at home:
‘It was the Christmas of 67 […] the good mother secured a bit of old-fashioned New Orleans sugar, and out of it she manufactured some candy and moulded it into fantastic shapes. […] There must have been a couple of pounds of it upon this particular Christmas tree.’ (The Commoner, 1904).
Related: The Victorian Christmas Tree
4 Ways To Make Sugar Christmas Ornaments – Edible Christmas Tree Decorations
Sugar Christmas Ornaments From The 1740s
This recipe for molded sugar Christmas ornaments was published 280 years ago in the old German cookbook “Freywillig-Aufgesprungener Granat-Apffel” in 1741! I often try historical recipes. However, really old recipes like this one don’t always work. But this not only worked perfectly, it was also really easy and fast to make. To be precise, it was a lot easier to make than other homemade fondant, sugar paste or gum paste. And it’s made with just three ingredients: powdered sugar, gum tragacanth and rosewater. Like pastillage or gum paste, these 18th century sugar ornaments dry rock-hard.
- about 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 4 tsp rosewater
- 1/2 tsp gum tragacanth
1. Combine Gum Tragacanth & Rosewater
Combine gum tragacanth and rosewater in a bowl. Cover the bowl and let it stand overnight at room temperature.
Related: How To Make Rosewater At Home
By the way, if you don’t have rosewater at home you can simply use water instead. And instead of gum tragacanth, gum arabic should also work.
2. Add Powdered Sugar
The next day, knead powdered sugar into the gum tragacanth mixture.
3. Make Sugar Ornaments
Roll out the sugar dough to 1/4″ (1/2cm) thickness on powdered sugar. Sprinkle the cookie mold with powdered sugar and press it onto the sugar dough. Cut out the sugar ornaments with a knife. Poke holes into sugar Christmas ornaments with a skewer. Then let the edible Christmas tree decorations dry at room temperature for about two days.
After two days, thread yarn through the holes of the candy Christmas ornaments.
How To Make Hand-Painted Sugar Ornaments
Molded cookies – such as Springerle – and sugar ornaments were often painted with natural food coloring such as vegetable and fruit juices. Inspired by these traditional hand-painted cookies and sugar ornaments, I painted some sugar ornaments with beetroot, red cabbage and plantain (Plantago lanceolata). I also tried painting the edible Christmas ornaments with butterfly pea tea but that was too pale on the sugar.
I just used a piece of raw beetroot and red cabbage and bruised plantain leaves to paint the historical sugar ornaments. But you can also extract the juice and paint the edible Christmas tree decorations with a brush. Click on the links below for more recipes on how to make homemade natural food coloring.
Homemade Natural Food Coloring
How To Make Easy Sparkling Sugar Ornaments
These edible Christmas tree decorations sparkling and glitter almost like real snow or ice. And you only need two ingredients that you already have at home to make these sugar snowflake ornaments: granulated sugar and water. These sparkling sugar Christmas ornaments are even faster to make than the historical sugar ornaments above. But the sugar mixture is crumbly and therefore more difficult to shape into edible Christmas decorations.
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- about 2 tsp water
1. Combine Sugar & Water
In a bowl, stir together granulated sugar and some drops of water. Add just a drop of water at a time and don’t add too much water: the sugar shouldn’t melt. It should look and feel like wet sand.
2. Make Sugar Ornaments
Now flatten the sugar dough with a rolling pin or your hands. Using a snowflake-shaped cookie cutter cut snowflakes from the sugar dough. I used my DIY snowflake cookie cutter that I made from a tin can. By the way, you can also form the sugar mixture into edible icicle ornaments instead!
Carefully transfer the sugar snowflake ornaments to baking paper or a greased plate. And carefully push them out the cookie cutter.
Let the edible sugar snowflakes dry for some days at room temperature. After they’re dried, the sugar snowflakes have the consistency of regular sugar cubes.
How To Make Colorful & Flavored Sparkling Sugar Ornaments
The edible sugar Christmas ornaments don’t have to be white: Instead of sparkling snow-white Christmas ornaments you can also make all-natural red, green or even blue sugar ornaments – naturally dyed with homemade natural food coloring! For example, you can dye the sugar ornaments red with red beets, blue with red cabbage or green with spinach. You can create almost any color with vegetables, berries and herbs! Click on the link below for the recipes.
And you can even flavor the sugar snowflake ornaments with organic essential peppermint oil, ground cinnamon, rosewater, almond extract, vanilla powder or vanilla extract.
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