Here goes with the first of my ideas/instructions for homemade gifts. I did a few of these for Christmas, they are super easy and were a useful option for the younger ones on my list. A couple of adults got them too, but fewer than I had originally planned – I was worried that people might be insulted by the implication that they can’t cook without help.
There are two varieties: Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Chocolate Brownies. They use different sizes of jar, which is handy because it gives you options if you can only find one size. (They are always available from Lakeland and other kitchen supply shops, but buying them at those prices makes this an expensive gift, so I prefer to track them down in pound shops etc.)
Apart from the jar, all you need is some ribbon to decorate it, some card (and hole punch) or a large label, and a printer (or just a pen) for adding the instructions. Plus the ingredients, of course.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Uses a one litre preserving jar.
165g (6 oz) dark brown sugar
100g (3.5 oz) granulated white sugar
20g (0.5 oz) cocoa powder
60g (2.25 oz) pecan nuts, chopped
170g (8 oz) plain flour
half teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon baking soda
Layer the first four ingredients into the jar in the order listed, pressing each layer down firmly before adding the next (I used the end of a rolling pin). Mix together the remaining ingredients then add them to the jar. It might be a tight squeeze.
Make a label with the following instructions:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Just add: 125g softened butter, 1 egg and 1tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
- Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
- Empty the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix together with your hands.
- Mix in the butter, egg (beaten slightly) and vanilla essence.
- Shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place on the baking sheet 5cm apart. Bake for 18-20 mins.
- Cool for 5 mins on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool before tucking in!
Then all you need to do is to attach the label to the jar using the ribbon. I told you it was easy!
(Unfortunately I neglected to take a photo of the finished item. I only remembered after I had given it to someone, so this picture was taken in their rather dark living room.)
And for the smaller, 500ml jar we have:
225g (8 oz) light muscovado sugar
75g (2.75 oz) self-raising flour
25g (1 oz) cocoa powder
100g (3.5 oz) pecan nuts, chopped
Just add: 3 large beaten eggs, 200g unsalted butter and 400g milk chocolate.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave.
- When it is cool, mix in the eggs and contents of the jar.
- Pour into a 20cm square cake tin and bake for 1hr 5mins.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before slicing.
And if all this talk of baking has made you hungry, there’s nothing to stop you cutting out the middle man and using the recipes without the jar!