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Gifts in a Jar
One of the latest crazes in gift giving is "Gifts in a Jar". All the needed dry ingredients to make a batch of tasty cookies or brownies are layered in to a wide mouth quart jar. Topped with a pretty lid and accompanied by instructions to make the cookies, this makes a great gift. The only difficult decision is which variety to make.
I have found that the best and most efficient way to prepare these gifts is to gather up some friend and do it assembly line style. You can certainly do it yourself if you have an empty Saturday on your calendar, but it can be time consuming. These will keep for about 6 months if sealed tightly and stored in the pantry, so making several at a time is cost effective, too.
If you use the 2 piece canning lids, a nice idea is to put a nice swatch of pretty fabric over the flat part of the lid and then screw the ring on tightly. Adding a little cotton or pillow stuffing between the fabric and lid looks great, too.
Attach the recipe by punching a hole in the corner of an index card with the recipe written on it. Tie a piece of string or even a rubberband through the hole and around the jar. This is an easy and thoughtful gift idea for housewarmings, birthdays and `just because'.
Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Mix
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Layer ingredients in order given in a 1 quart ''wide mouth'' canning jar. Clean the inside of the jar with a dry paper towel after adding the confectioners' sugar and after adding the cocoa powder. Be sure to pack everything down firmly before adding the flour mixture, it will be a tight fit.
3. Instructions to attach to Jar:
Peanut Butter Cookies
1. Empty jar of cookie mix into large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly blend mix
2. Add: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened at room temperature. DO NOT USE DIET MARGARINE.
Add 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 egg, slightly beaten, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla
3. Mix until completely blended. You will need to use your hands to finish mixing.
4. Shape into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheets. DO NOT USE WAXED PAPER. Press balls down with a fork
5. Bake at 350 for 9 to 11 minutes until edges are browned. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Dreamsicle Cookie Mix
1/2 cup orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
3/4 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups vanilla baking chips
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Combine the flour with the baking soda and baking powder.
2. Starting with the Tang, then sugar, vanilla chips and ending with the flour mixture. Layer the ingredients in a clean glass wide mouth quart sized jar. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the next ingredient.
3. Attach a recipe card with the following instructions to the jar:
Yield 2 1/2 dozen
Preheat oven to 375
Empty contents into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg slightly beaten and teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until completely blended
Roll heaping tablespoonfuls into balls. Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet
Bake at 375 for 12 to 14 minutes or until tops are very lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Brownie Mix in a Jar
2-1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. Layer ingredients in a 1 quart "wide mouth" canning jar. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the flour mixture. NOTE: Be sure to wipe out the inside of the jar with a dry paper towel after adding the cocoa powder.
3. Instructions to attach to jar:
Brownie Mix in a Jar II
1. Empty jar of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly blend mix.
2. Add 3/4 cup butter or margarine melted. DO NOT USE DIET MARGARINE. Add 4 eggs, slightly beaten
3. Mix until completely blended
4. Spread batter into a sprayed 9 x 13 inch baking pan
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Cut into 2 inch squares. Makes 2 dozen Brownies.