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Cinnamon Scented Dried Apple Wreath

MATERIALS:
  • 8 to 10 firm apples (Red Rome apples work really well.)
  • cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Allspice, ground
  • 8 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tsp. Orrisroot powder
  • Wire coat hanger (or you may use 18 gauge wire instead)
  • Ribbon of choice for decorating wreath
  • Various kitchen tools:
  • Sharp knife
  • Small bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Tea strainer or other small kitchen sieve
  • Clean pastry brush
  • Pliers (with cutting edge for cutting coat hanger and then bending it)
  • Sturdy teaspoon (to help combine spices well)
  • Conventional oven and broiler pan or shallow baking tray
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Combine the lemon juice and salt in a bowl and mix well. Set this aside while you peel and slice the apples.
  2. Peel the apples, then slice them to no thicker than ". Core the slices as needed.
  3. Soak the apple slices in the lemon juice mixture for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once and making sure the slices are thoroughly covered.
  4. Place the slices on paper toweling, patting them dry to absorb excess liquid. Use extra paper towels as necessary.
  5. Using the backside of a spoon, mash the spices together, stirring occasionally, to insure that they are well combined.
  6. Using a small tea strainer, or other small sieve, dust the apple slices with the spice mixture. Use the pastry brush to gently remove excess spices. Turn the slices over and repeat the process.
  7. Place the slices in a single layer on a broiler pan or other shallow baking tray. Dry them in a regular oven at 150 degrees for about 6 hours or until evenly dried. You will not need to turn the slices. The dried slices will be pliable, not brittle.
  8. Using either a wire coat hanger or 18-gauge wire, form a heart shape. Stringing the slices will begin and end at the point of the heart shape, so be certain this is how you form the wreath shape. A trick for this is to use a can from your pantry as the cylinder around which to bend your wire forming the top humps of the heart.
  9. Fold the apple slices in half once, then in half again. "Thread" them onto the wire shape, working from both sides, until the wreath is completely covered. Now you are ready to hook the heart shape together.
  10. To "hook" the heart together, use your pliers to form small hook shapes on both ends where they meet. (One trick I learned was to form the hooks before I threaded the slices. Bend them straight for threading, and then back into hooks when you are finished. Having the wire already bent once seemed to make it easier to do at the end.)
  11. Complete your wreath by attaching a bow at the top anchor it to the wreath using a short section of the wire. Using some of the same ribbon, attach a loop to the center back of the wreath for hanging.
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