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December 6, 2010

Cookie Mix-In-A-Jar

Every year I try to think of a fun homemade treat to make for our friends at Christmas.  This year I decided to try something a little different.    
 Instead of baking Christmas cookies & treats, I made cookie mixes in quart jars.  That way the recipients can easily mix up the cookies and bake them whenever they want. This also allowed me to make the gifts further in advance and avoid stress close to Christmas. I made 3 types of cookies and 1 brownie mix. 
Here are the directions for making your own:

Sand Art Brownies
I modified this recipe from All Recipes
Jar Ingredients (in fill order):
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup vanilla baking chips
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour


In order to make this a time efficient homemade gift, I made 6 jars at a time assembly line style. 
Wash as many wide mouth quart jars as you would like to use & make sure they are completely dry.
Add 3/4 cup flour and salt. Gently pack down with your fist.  Use your finger to make an even line around the outside. 

Then use a piece of paper to create a long funnel.  If you dump the cocoa directly on top of the flour, it will create a cocoa & flour dust cloud, and will not create the layered effect you want.  Use the paper funnel to guide the cocoa on top of the flour.  Then use a spoon to evenly spread the cocoa into a layer.  Gently pack the cocoa to create an even line around the outside.  If necessary, wipe the jar above the cocoa with a paper towel to get rid of the cocoa dust.

Carefully place the chocolate chips on top of the cocoa.  Especially the first layer, again to avoid a cocoa cloud.  I put my hand in the jar and placed the first layer so that I was not dropping the chocolate chips a long distance onto the cocoa. 

Pour the vanilla chips on top of the chocolate chips.

Pack the brown sugar on top of the vanilla chips. (It is important to pack each layer so that everything will fit.)

Use a funnel to poor in the white sugar & remaining flour.  Depending on how well the ingredients are packed, you may need to put in half the flour, then pack it before adding the rest.
Put on your jar lid and decorate the top with material or ribbon of your choice. 

Then attach a card with these instructions:

Sand Art Brownies:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9x9 inch square baking pan.
2. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl, and mix well.
3. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs. Beat until combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

The brownies were the hardest to place in a jar because of the cocoa.  Here are 2 of the cookie recipes I tried.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jar Ingredients (in fill order):
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup flour

Card Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Empty contents of jar into a large bowl and mix well.
3. In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of butter, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture and mix well.
5. Drop by tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Cowboy Cookies
Jar Ingredients (in fill order):
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Card Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in the entire contents of the jar. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing. Shape into walnut sized balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven.

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