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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

December 22, 2022 - 9:00am --

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:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together two eggs and ½ cup vegetable oil.
  2. Carefully add the entire contents of the jar. Mix well
  3. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Drop dough onto a cookie sheet in rounded balls.
  6. 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:

  1. Carefully remove macaroni from the top of the jar and set aside
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown the meat, draining the fat.
  3. Add water, tomatoes, and soup mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. 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
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This article was previously published in The Daily Record.