If you're buying presents this holiday season for a lot of people, it's not only rough on the bank account, but also difficult to come up with that many gift ideas. Let's face it, you can only buy so many gift cards without coming across as just plain lazy.
That's why I'm a big fan of homemade gifts. It shows that the person took time to create a one-of-a-kind gift for you, which is priceless. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to appreciate a hand-knit scarf, but you know something that is loved by everyone?
The bakers out there probably already have a cookie swap on their calendar, but for those of us who are far from being Martha Stewarts in the kitchen, sending scorched goods to our friends isn't exactly the gift that keeps on giving. So take the safe route and send them the dry ingredients in a pretty mason jar. The pure craftsmanship of it will still have them comparing you to Martha.
Here are five tasty treat mixes in a jar:
Chocolate Chip Cookies: This family favorite will surely be baked in no time. Mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda in with 2 cups flour, then layer 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, topped off with 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips into a mason jar.
Oatmeal Cookies: Layer 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 2 cups oats, and fill the rest of the jar with raisins.
Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies: In a medium bowl, stir together 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Layer 1 1/2 cups white sugar on the bottom of the jar, and then pour in flour mixture. For fun, send along icing so the family can decorate them once they're out of the oven.
Brownies: Even if your friend is more of a brownie person, you can still satisfy their sweet tooth. Layer 2 1/4 cups white sugar, 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour into jar and seal.
Hot Cocoa: Okay, so it's not a cookie, but hot chocolate goes hand-in-hand with cookies fresh from the oven. Mix together 1 1/2 cups skim milk powder, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, and 3/4 cup of non-dairy creamer. Pour into a mason jar and top with mini marshmallows. All they simply have to do is add warm milk and enjoy.
To keep from getting a cloud of flour all over your kitchen, use a funnel to pour ingredients into the jar. Once you've safely layered everything, decorate the jar by cutting a circular piece of fabric (approximately 6-8 inches across), and place it over the first section of the jar's lid, screwing into place with the top portion. Then fluff it out, and attach a recipe card with ribbon, giving directions on how to bake your gift.
Have you ever sent a cookie mix in a jar as a gift?
Image via House of Sims/Flickr