If you are looking for something unique try making homemade gifts in a jar for Christmas. I’ve made five recipes below to show you what’s possible and hopefully, this will provide you with a little inspiration.
Candies and treats always look good, as you can see below when placed in a fancy jar and decorated with a ribbon they make a nice gift, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique how about filling the jar with layer after layer of contrasting dry ingredients in which to make a treat when needed, more on this below.
Homemade food gifts allow people to make their own Christmas goodies, at their leisure, and until then they have a good-looking homemade Christmas food gift to display on their counter or as part of a centerpiece.
In addition, homemade gifts in a jar are easier for you than giving out trays of baked goods to your friends, family, and co-workers. Not only do you not have to bake the goodies in the first place, but homemade gifts in a jar are far easier to transport than wobbly plates or bulky tins of cookies and other baked goods.
Brownies In A Jar
Ingredients (makes 1 gift):
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix the above flour mixture ingredients together and set aside.
- A 1-quart jar – Mason jars are great for these, but any jar of the proper size will work well. Wash your jar and make sure it has ample time to dry inside before you start. Any moisture at all risks damage to your ingredients.
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (the darker the better)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup peanut butter chips, or 1 cup white chocolate chips
These recipes have been made to measure, but as measurements and cup sizes can vary slightly around the world you may find your ingredients are a bit short of the top of the jar for a snug fit. You can usually correct this by filling the gap with a piece of muslin, or for a slightly larger gap you may need to crunch up some kitchen paper, wrap the muslin around it and fill the gap with that.
Filling Your Jar
- In your clean, dry jar, layer ingredients in a contrasting order, with light ingredients next to darker ones. Make sure your chocolate chips and pecans, peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips are on top. One suggested layering order is: sugar, cocoa, flour mixture, chocolate chips, extra ingredients.
- Cover your jar tightly and make sure it seals completely. This will keep the brownie mix fresh for a long time, in case the recipients of your homemade gifts in a jar choose to wait several months before they make the brownies.
- Attach a label or make a contrasting gift tag and card (see photo bellow) with the following instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Treat an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 baking pan so the batter does not stick.
- Mix 1/2 cup butter that has been melted and cooled with 2 slightly beaten eggs.
- Add jar mix and stir.
- When all lumps are removed, spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let brownies cool in the pan, then cut into bars.
Lentil Soup In A Jar
Baked goods are not the only homemade gifts in a jar, though. You can also make a variety of soup mixes that your recipients can turn into delicious winter brew just by adding water and heating.
Ingredients (makes 1 gift):
- 1 1 1/2 pint jar – Again, a small Mason jar of the proper size will work well, but so will any other glass jar with a lid that fits tightly.
- 1/3 cup bouillon granules (whatever flavor you like best)
- 1/4 cup dry barley
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1/2 cup dry split peas
- 1/4 cup onion flakes
- 1/2 cup long-grain white rice (uncooked)
- 1/2 cup small pasta (like alphabet pasta)
- 1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1-2 bay leaves
Filling Your Jar:
- Layer your ingredients in your jar. Your homemade food gifts will look better if you put contrasting colors next to one another.
- If you live in a wetter climate, wrap the pasta in cling wrap before adding it to your jar.
- Attach a label or tag to the gift jar with the following instructions:
- Remove the pasta from the jar and set it aside.
- If you so desire, add 1 pound browned ground beef or turkey or equivalent amounts cooked, shredded chicken to your soup pot.
- Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato paste, 3 quarts of water, and the rest of the mix.
- Boil, then reduce heat. Cover soup pot, and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils and split peas are soft.
- Add in pasta, black pepper to taste, and garlic to taste
- recover pot, and simmer for 15-20 more minutes.
Tagging & Wrapping Jar Gifts
These homemade jar gifts can look terrific if you take a bit of time to add a gift tag or decorate the jar with some patterned card or wrapping paper.
Homemade Candy Jar Gifts
Candy Jar Gifts Made Using Wallpaper and Wrapping Paper
- Cut a strip of card or paper to fit about one-third the height of you jar.
- You can usually pick up some good quality patterned card from craft stores. But I’ve found a wallpaper border works just as well, and if you’re planning to make lots of jar gifts, it may work out cheaper.
- Wrapping paper is also a good option, but it needs to be folded over lengthways a couple of time to make it a bit more ridged.
- You can add a zig zag effect to the strip with pinking scissors to give the jar a nice decorative edge if you wish, before dropping it into the jar (I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you are using wrapping paper).
- Finish the jar with a contrasting homemade luggage label tied on with some ribbon.
Homemade Pet Treat Gift Jars
You can create original novelty storage jars for your pet in no time, and they make great homemade gifts in a jar for pet lovers!
To start with you will need:
- A good sized mason jar
- Patterned or plain card or paper
- String or ribbon
- For decoration, buttons, beads, googly eyes
- Draw then cut out two shapes that represent the pet you have in mind. For the best effect make one shape from plain and one from patterned card.
- I’ve added a button and googly eyes for my dog gift tag, but you can add or draw anything you like.
- Write the name of the pet on a piece of white card and glue this onto the tag then use a hole punch to punch a hole into the top of the tag.
- Thread a piece of string or ribbon through the finished gift tag, and then wrap it around or tie it to the jar.
- Add a bead or two for decoration before tying in a bow.
- I’ve glued a thin ribbon around the taller jar just for added interest, but it looks just as good without.
At this point, you should have four homemade gifts in a jar, ready for distribution or even to use in your own home. If you want to make more, multiply the recipes appropriately and experiment with ingredients.
What homemade food gift recipes have you made? Let me know how they turn out, what ingredients did you use?