For Saint Patrick’s Day this year we’re having a green potluck. My roommate Beth is Irish and we try to do something special each year- just for fun! Knowing there will be an abundance of leprechaun and shamrock themed food, I wanted to shake things up by making a non-perishable gift that focuses on a different part of Irish culture- The Blarney Stone! There are several legends that are responsible for the mysticism surrounding the stone. One legend says that the Lord of Muscry in 14th or 15th century Ireland was in danger of being prosecuted at court. He prayed to the goddess Clíodhna, queen of the hill fairies, for help. She told him to kiss the first stone he saw on his way to court and he will be spared. Thereafter, Lord Muscry was endowed with great eloquence and persuasiveness in speech, and won his case at court. With this legend as my inspiration I came up with the idea to mold salt dough (a simple craft often used to make Christmas ornaments) into pendants for a necklace or bracelet- something my guests could kiss for luck, whenever they need the gift of gab.
This recipe is easy and fun- get into it and use your hands! Salt dough is a fabulous craft to do with kids, too. Start by mixing the flour and table salt in the large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle, and add your water. Slowly mix the salt flour with the water, until dough begins to form.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. I must admit I wasn’t sure of what shape or thickness I wanted the pendants to be- luckily, there was enough dough to play around with. One thing to note is that the dough does not shrink, and only slightly rises (just a little puffier than before, barely noticeable). Since I planned to thread twine through my shapes for a necklace or bracelet, I was generous in making the hole with my toothpick. No need to trouble with the mess of rolling the dough out; I took inch-sized pieces straight from the bowl. Get creative with the shape and size of your pendants. I made big coins, small coins, natural stone-shaped pendants, as well as incorporated different textures, like several thumbprints and dents. The consistency of the dough is much like pie-crust and just as easily sculpted.
Place your shapes on the baking sheet (un-greased is fine), and pop them into the oven for 45 minutes or so. My batch became a little brown on the outside by the time they were solid-as-a-rock on the inside. Allow your pendants to cool fully before painting them, otherwise the paint will bubble or slide. I spray painted them in metallic silver on both sides, and let them dry overnight.
For the potluck, I strung the pendants onto lengths of twine, and loosely knotted for guests to adjust later. I placed them in nifty paper favor bags, with labels that were sealed with ‘Kiss for Luck.’ The salt dough pendants made for a quirky gift that guests asked about, and the legend behind the Blarney Stone served as a great conversation piece.