Sometimes the best gifts are the simplest. Take for instance, the goodness you can easily pack in a jar and top it with a piece of colorful material and a ribbon.
Filling jars with cookie, brownie and soup mixes is an inexpensive way to give a gift from the heart, and the recipients have a special treat to make at their convenience, with most of the work already done.
During a “Gifts From The Kitchen” program, Kate Shumaker, family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension, Holmes County, shared instructions and recipes for gift mixes in a jar.
Start by filling the jar with your favorite cookie, brownie or soup mix. Add a circle of fabric cut 1 inch larger than the jar opening and top with a lid. (Cut the fabric with pinking shears so it doesn’t fray.) Create a gift tag with ingredients to add to the mix along with the baking directions and tie it to the jar with a ribbon.
Cake mix cookies are super easy. Just choose combinations of a cake mix and mix-ins for your gift jar. So many combinations are possible, but here are a few flavor ideas:
- Double chocolate cookies made from chocolate cake mix and chocolate chips
- Triple chocolate cookies made from chocolate cake mix and dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate baking chips.
- Chocolate peanut butter cookies made from chocolate cake mix and Reese’s Pieces
- Strawberry fudge cookies made from strawberry cake mix and chocolate chips
- Cranberry white chocolate cookies made from white cake mix and cranberries and white chocolate chips
- Almond Joy cookies made from chocolate cake mix and chocolate chips, coconut and sliced almonds
- Red and white cookies made from red velvet cake mix and white chocolate chips.
Here’s how to fill the jar for the cake mix cookies:
Pour the entire box of cake mix into the bottom of a one-quart jar. Add up to 1 ½ cups of mix-ins for your cookies. Place a solid lid on the jar (either a flat metal lid and ring for canning or a one-piece lid). Tie on a tag with preparation directions as follows:
- In a large bowl, beat together two eggs and ½ cup vegetable oil.
- Carefully add the entire contents of the jar. Mix well
- Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Drop dough onto a cookie sheet in rounded balls.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until done.
Here is a recipe for a cookie in the jar mix.
Oatmeal Cookies In Jar
In a one-quart jar, layer the following ingredients using a funnel:
1 cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
In a small cup combine:
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Spoon this mixture on top of the sugar next to the jar wall.
Add 1/14 cup rolled oats and top with 1 cup chocolate chips.
For M&M cookies, substitute M&Ms or semi-sweet mini M&Ms for the chocolate chips.
Create a diagonal layered effect by layering the ingredients in a jar while the quart is sitting at a 45-degree angle. Set the jar in a bowl lined with a towel to hold the jar steady while you layer the ingredients. The diagonal look will remain once the jar is filled.
Tasty Soup Mix In A Jar
In a pint jar, layer the following ingredients in the order listed:
¼ cup dry split peas
2 tablespoons pearl barley
¼ cup dry lentils
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ cup uncooked long grain rice
¼ cup small pasta
Additional ingredients needed:
½ pound ground beef, turkey or sausage
4 cups water
15-ounce can of beef broth
1 can (about 14.5 ounces) canned tomatoes, diced or chopped.
Attach a tag with these directions:
To prepare soup:
- Carefully remove macaroni from the top of the jar and set aside
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown the meat, draining the fat.
- Add water, tomatoes, and soup mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add reserved macaroni, cover and simmer until macaroni, peas, lentils, and barley are tender. Season as desired.
Yields 8 servings.
These are a few examples of jar mix recipes. You may use any of your own favorite mixes to give a gift in a jar. Enjoy the holiday season.
Laurie Sidle is a family and consumer sciences and 4-H program assistant for OSU Extension and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.