Holiday Food Gift – How to Make Cookies in a Jar

cookiejars

The kids and I have started our holiday baking gifts.  Of course there’s cookies.  But I also like to give things that people can enjoy beyond the holidays.  So we make cookies in a jar.  I think this is especially good for teachers and co-workers and those traveling for the holidays.   Having ingredients pre-measured and ready, makes it easy for the recipient to finish the cookies quickly and can make them whenever they get a cookie craving (and they can get the credit for making them).

To make, you simply layer all the dry ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe in a clear container.  It looks pretty and allows the recipient to finish and bake when they’d like.  This Chocolate Cocoa Cranberry Cookie recipe works well because of the different colors of ingredients.  For those who may be allergic to nuts I feel free to use more chocolate or cranberries.   If you bake, you probably already have some ingredients on hand such as flour, salt, baking powder, sugars, etc.

The only other thing you need to buy is the container.  Here’s where you can get really crafty and creative if you’d like, depending on the occasion.  The recipes calls for a 1 quart jar however I’ve also used a one liter glass mason jar from The Container Store, when the quart wasn’t available.  The wide mouth jars are easier to layer and get ingredients in.  I find a screw top is simple and sturdy, and can be used again once the cookies are gone.  I’ve used various cards and tie-ons to present the recipe.  The kids can have fun personalizing these too.  I find it’s best to attach the baking instructions to the container, so the recipient doesn’t lose it when they’re ready to bake.

Once you get the hang of it and learn the layering and packing technique these are quite simple to do, and you can do a few at once. Here are a few tips for assembling:

  • Use ½ or ¼ cup size measuring cups to place ingredients in mouth of jar.
  • Layer flour in first.  If not it may seep between the layers.
  • Pack down each ingredient. This will allow everything to fit in the jar and also show the clear layers.  I use a spoon and a small juice glass.
  • Layer contrasting colors next to each other, for a better effect.  For instance, dried cranberries next to white chocolate chips and cocoa next to white sugar.
  • Wipe inside of container to clean flour and cocoa which will leave a dust and cloud glass.
  • Store in a cool, dry place
Ingredients

Chocolate Cocoa Cranberry Cookies 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (if concerned about nuts add more chocolate and/or cranberries)
  • 1 cup total: combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries

Directions for Assembling Jar

  1. Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar, layer flour mixture, dark brown sugar, white sugar, cocoa, chopped pecans, and chocolate chips. Pack everything down firmly between ingredients.
  3. Attach a tag with baking instructions (This is ready to print and paste on tag)
Baking Instructions

Chocolate Cocoa Cranberry Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Empty cookie mix into large bowl.

Thoroughly blend mixture with hands or whisk.

3. Mix in 3/4 cup softened butter, 1 egg (slightly beaten),

and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

4. Shape into walnut size balls, and place 2 inches apart

on a parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking

sheet, then move to wire racks.

 

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The 250 Best Brownies, Bars and Squares – Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Recipes are everywhere – magazines, cookbooks, online, etc.  However I just can’t turn them away.  And there’s always some reason for another book – even if it’s just to discover one great recipe.  I received a review copy of The 250 Best Brownies, Bars and Squares by Esther Brody and I’ve already found my one favorite new recipe – Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  If I only try 1 of the 250 in this book I am satisfied.

This book certainly has a variety of brownies, bars and squares.  Everything from quick dress ups for store bought mixes to layered and frosted homemade treats.  There are just enough full color photos in a center spread to make your mouth water.  And tips about baking, storing, cooling and cutting are always appreciated.  This is a good one to have for a holiday gift for someone that likes to bake or to use as inspiration to get yourself baking and gifting.  Yesterday I gave some of these yummy  bars to my daughter’s teacher on her birthday (yes, she’s 40 and fabulous), and she’s already asking for the recipe.

Warning that while these granola bars have healthy stuff like nuts, seeds and oatmeal they also have sweetened condensed milk (aka milk  with 40% sugar) and butter.  However there are some healthy and low-fat recipes in here too.

What I like about this recipe is that it can be easily changed and customized to your family’s tastes.  Cranberries or dried cherries could be substituted for raisins.   And various nuts could be substituted for peanuts.  I think next time I’ll make these nut-free by substituting some dry cereal for the peanuts so my kids can take them in their lunchbox or to a playdate.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars,

page 131, Specialty Bars & Squares

Makes 36 bars

Preheat oven to 325° F (160° C)
13- by 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan, lined with greased foil

 

3 cups          old-fashioned  rolled oats 750 ml

1 cup           raisins 250 mL

1 cup           sunflower seeds 250 mL

1 cup           chopped peanuts 250 mL

1 cup           semi-sweet  chocolate chips  250 mL

1                 can (14 oz [398 mL])  sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup     butter or margarine, melted   125 mL
1.  In a bowl mix together oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts and chocolate chips. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in melted butter until blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

2.  Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Place pan on a rack to cool slightly, then transfer cake, with foil, to a cutting board and cut into bars.

Excerpted from The 250 Best Brownies, Bars & Squares by Esther Brody © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

 

 

 

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