Monday, November 17, 2008

Unique, Edible Gifts in a Jar

Our next-door neighbors are great. They never complain, are quiet, friendly yet unobtrusive, pleasant to chat with, and are all around super people sharing fences.

At this time of year, it is always a challenge to figure out something to give friends and neighbors that will be both somewhat unique and useful as a Christmas token of friendship. So a handmade gift is usually the best I can come up with for sharing. Making it edible and disposable are also desirable attributes of a gift for "those who have everything".

This season, I am going to try several jars of layered food items (bean soups, pancake mixes, scone mixes, cake mixes, hot chocolate mixes, etc.) for gifting to family and neighbors. Here is a fantastic website to check out for just such an idea: Budget 101; it has lots of great ideas and thousands of recipes for hand made give-away dishes. And this site also gives tips on how to make the entire package look attractive and seasonally packaged.

Here are some of my gifting recipes gleaned from Budget 101:

from Christmas Coffee Mix in a Jar:

1/2 cup powdered non dairy creamer
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2 Tbsp vanilla powder
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup instant coffee crystals

Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).

GIFT TAG DIRECTIONS: Add 3 T of mix to mug of hot water, stir & enjoy. May serve with chocolate dipped spoons.

and from Italian Herb and Rosotto Rice Recipe, this package looks excellent, easy and should prove colorful in the jar:

3-1/2 C. arborio rice
3/4 C. snipped dried tomatoes
8 chicken bouillon cubes
3 T.instant minced onion
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. instant minced garlic
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried basil leaves, crushed
1/2 t. pepper

Makes 4 half pint jars.

Equally divide the ingredients and layer into 4 jars (evenly). Gift Tag : Boil 3 cups of water, add 1 jar of mix, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes on low. Add 1/2 c. Romano or Parmesan cheese, stir well and enjoy.

Here is a picture of a peanut butter cup cookie recipe in a jar filled with the dry ingredients (enough for two dozen cookies):

Recipe from Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Mix in a Jar

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 large Reese's peanut butter cups candies cut in quarters & Placed on top.

Combine all ingredients in Jar (in Layers) or vacuum seal bag.

Recipe to attach to jar:

1 Jar of Mix (take out candies; Set aside)
3/4 cup softened butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all, except candy, in good size bowl; mix well. Once mixed, add Reese's cups and mix them in gently, or press them into each spoonful on the cookie sheets. Drop by big spoonfuls on greased baking sheets; Bake in 350 F oven for 12-14minutes.

These jars are fun to make, fun to give, and hopefully, will be easy to assemble for the giftees, and delicious when served.

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