I have done a cookie exchange with my Mom’s Club for several years now. This is the first year I have been the organizer though, and I decided to change the rules. Previously, recipes were submitted and approved before the exchange. Candies, fudge and the like were not allowed. Why anyone would prevent the addition of fudge to their holiday diet is beyond me. I basically did away with the rules, allowing for a little more creativity.
I made a ‘Cookie In A Jar’ rather than baking cookies (or fudge, or whatever) for everyone. I left the “To/From” card blank to allow for re-gifting because they make perfect last minute gifts.
There are a bazillion recipes for cookies in a jar, but the secret for these is to have a ‘tamper’.
It’s a wooden tool with flat ends that comes with the Ball Gift Jar kits (which I found on sale this fall for $1.87 each). It’s what you use to squish down the ingredients so they are packed in and have that nice ‘layered’ look. Going forward, I can just use a regular wide mouth canning jar without buying the kids now that I have the tamper.
I got carried away with the jar gifts, and decided to make teacher gifts in a jar too. I layered red, black, and white beans in a jar which filled it about 3/4 of the way full. The kits also included a cute, pre-cut piece of fabric for the lid, a wooden tag, a recipe card, and pretty string.
Then, in a square of cheesecloth I put:
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
I tied the cheesecloth with cooking twine, and set it on top of the beans. I attached a recipe card with the following instructions:
Three Bean Chili
Remove spice bag from jar; set aside. Place the dried bean mixture into a saucepot. Cover dried beans with cold water and soak overnight. Drain. Cover beans with 2 inches of fresh, cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add 1 pound of browned ground beef, 2 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes; the tomato sauce and the contents of the spice bag. Mix well and cook on low heat for 1/2 an hour.
It occurred to me that people might not be very excited about basically getting a jar of dried beans, so I found some inexpensive stockings and put a box of Jiffy Corn Bread mix, a can of tomato sauce, and very cute tiny jars of Tobasco sauce to give with the jars.
I’ve gone gift jar mad. Someone needs to stop me…