I'm a big fan of giving and receiving Christmas gifts that can be used up, whether that's eaten, drunk, poured into a bath or spent. Unless I know someone wants something very specific, I always try to give them something I know they will be able to use up and won't have to keep lying around the house for years to come. Last year, I gave several friends and relatives homemade jars of cookie mix as part of their present. They went down really, really well so I'm doing a few more this year.
After trawling the Internet for hours last year trying to find the perfect cookie-in-a-jar recipe, I ended up combining a couple and adjusting the quantities to perfectly fit the 750ml jars I had. The recipe below will fill this size jar perfectly and you can easily increase the quantities of each ingredient by, say, 25% to fit litre jars.
Of course, you have to do a trial run of the cookies, just to make sure they're good enough to give out as gifts...that's my excuse, anyway. I don't like 'hard' cookies, so when I sampled the recipe, I baked the cookies for 10 minutes which gave a lovely, soft chewy texture. If you like them more crunchy, bake for a few minutes longer until they're just right for you.
Fills one 750 ml jar
60g white chocolate chips
60g dark chocolate chips
60g milk chocolate chips
15g Rice Krispies
150g plain flour
Half tsp of bicarbonate of soda
Quarter tsp of baking powder
80g dark brown soft sugar
75g caster sugar
30g porridge oats
Layer the ingredients into your jar in any order you like, but see the tip below on the brown sugar.
Attach a label to your jar with the following instructions:
Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 small or 12 enormous cookies
1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
2. In a large bowl, cream 75g of butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Mix in 1 egg and 1 additional egg yolk. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well blended.
3. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray.
4. Bake for 10 minutes for a soft, chewy cookie, or a couple of minutes longer for a crunchier cookie. Remove from baking trays to cool on wire racks.
Tips on filling your jar
Obviously, you want the jars to look pretty but I found it a lot harder than it looks to get perfectly neat layers! I just spooned the different ingredients into the jar and levelled them out as best I could.
One thing I do recommend, is to mix the brown and white sugars together before adding them to the jar.
Dark brown sugar has a tendency to harden and I read lots of comments on other cookie jar recipes from people who found they had to hack away at the brown sugar layer to get it out the jar! Mixing the two certainly worked for me, and a jar I kept back for a couple of months was fine when I came to use it.
Decorate your jar any way you like - I keep things simple with a length of ribbon and a customised gift tag. Those retro style card luggage tags you can buy in stationery shops for pennies are perfect as they're big enough to write the baking instructions on!
P.S How cute are my Santa and polar bear? We had an almost identical Santa when I was a toddler in the 80s and I loved him. I was delighted when I saw this 2012 version in M & S and had to have him and his polar bear friend. Tacky, you say? Absolutely :-)