Between teachers, bus drivers, miscellaneous friends and folks we just want to remember during the holidays, our gift list can get quite long. So each year we choose something we can make that these special people will enjoy, the kids can help create and won’t break the bank. This year, we opted for cookies in a jar. (Here is a fun gift we made for their teachers at the end of last school year.)My big kids, 7, 6 and 4 (baby Jane, 1, was deemed too little) were all able to take part – and actually helped!
There are a ton of cookie in a jar recipes available on the web, and for just about any type of cookie you can imagine. We opted for the recipe below because we could do it in pint size jars (most call for quart size) and because I like M&Ms!
You can find canning jars at Sears, grocery stores and, of course, online.
To Start: I set up an assembly line for the kids to assemble our Cookies in a Jar. Here is the order we set up our ingrediants:
To make filling jar easy, we used a wide mouth funnel that fit right into the jar. If you don’t have a wide mouth funnel, you can make a funnel by taping a sheet of paper into a cone, just make sure the opening is large enough for the M&Ms and chocolate chips to fit through. Or use a gallon size zip lock bag, cut one of the corners off, and use that to funnel in the ingredients. Bonus – it will keep flour from powdering the outside of the jar.
Before cooking with the kids, I had them all wash their hands and reminded them not to eat the ingredients (an understandable temptation when you’re having them handle sugar, candy and chocolate). To keep the peace, I promised we could have our own special snack after the jars were finished.
The kids stood around our kitchen peninsula (can’t really call it an island) and passed the jar to each other to complete the process.
Each of my biggies was in charge of 2 ingredients.
Step 1. Flour
Harry was very careful to level off his cup. I explained that cooking is kind of like a science experiment and you need the right amount of each ingredients for the cookies to taste good. Cookies are practically sacred in our house. They took the warning to heart.
Step 2. Baking Soda
Harry’s second job. He was very careful – I told him this was the stuff that made the cookies puff and that we only wanted them to puff so much.
Step 3. White Sugar
Ben had trouble scooping the sugar without spilling it over the side of the bowl. Once we decided the consistency of the sugar was like sand on the playground (which he loves to play in) he managed much better.
Step 4. Chocolate Chips
Super easy to scoop and dump!
Step 5. M&Ms (I used Christmas ones – The kids threw in a few packs left from Halloween, thus the blue and yellows peeking through.)
Gwen scored the coveted M&M job. As the oldest, I figured she was the most trustworthy and wouldn’t scarf them down like her mother her brothers would.
Step 6. Brown Sugar
Once the brown sugar is in, you want to tamp down.
Step 7: Screw on the top
Here is a look at the ingredients strata. Pretty, n’est pas?
Once the top is on, its time to decorate the jar and add the “How to Enjoy Your Cookies” instructions.
Decorating can be as complex or easy as you’d like.
Me? I prefer easy and just wrapped a ribbon around the edge of the lid and stuck on card I printed out with our greeting on one side and the baking instructions on the other.
I used a hot glue gun to glue the ribbon and cards to the jar. I could have had Gwen and Harry tie on bows, but considering how long it takes for them to tie their shoes, there would be no guarantee of finishing these for Christmas if they were in charge of tying on the ribbon.
PS. We made a few extra for our family to enjoy down the road
Pint-Sized Cookies in a Jar
3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Christmas M&Ms
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Directions: Combine the flour and baking soda. Place flour and soda mixture in a clean pint sized glass jar, and pack firmly. *See NFF Tip below! Place sugar on top. Pack firmly. Layer with chocolate chips and M&Ms. Place the brown sugar on top, again packing firmly. Cover with a lid.
Attach an index card with the following directions:
How to Enjoy your Cookies:
Empty contents of jar into a large bowl. In separate bowl combine 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of butter, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add to dry mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto an un-greased cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 375 degrees for 6 to 10 minutes.