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Recipe-in-a-jarHomemade recipe in a jar gifts with beautifully layered ingredients topped with a flourish are a thoughtful and economical way to treat friends, coworkers, neighbors or teachers to the flavors of the season. And making them is easy and fun – especially if you get the kids involved.

Jar recipes for everything from cookies to soups to hot drink mixes can be found on the internet and even in some cookbooks. In most recipe in a jar recipes, you’ll simply measure dry ingredients into a standard one-quart canning jar, and then tie a card with the cooking instructions to the lid. You can also adapt some of your own recipe favorites, but try a few jar recipes first to get the hang of the proportions.

Here are three classic Recipe Gifts-in-a-Jar to get you started. Build your layers in a 1-qt canning jar in the order written. For the prettiest finish, pack each layer flat before adding the next – a small ladle or meat hammer works well – then secure the lid, add a decorative ribbon and attach the cooking instructions.

Oatmeal Chippers Cookies Jar Mix

1-1/3 C old-fashioned oats or quick oats
½ C granulated sugar
¾ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ C brown sugar
1/3 C chopped pecans
1-1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp salt
variations: substitute chocolate chips for mini M&M’s, or cut pecans and add more chips

Print Oatmeal Chippers cooking instructions to include with jar gift

Confetti Soup Jar Mix

1/3 C beef bullion granules
¼ C dried minced onion
½ C dried split peas
¼ C barley
½ C dried lentils
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 dried bay leaf
1/3 C long-grain white rice
1-1/2 C Tri-color spiral pasta (rotini)

Print Confetti Soup cooking instructions to include with jar gift

Cocoa Steamer Instant Hot Cocoa Jar Mix

Note: this recipe yields about 5 quarts of mix. It’s a way to make bulk gifts for teachers, neighbors and co-workers, and you can package it in just about anything, from canning jars, to clean recycled food jars, to food gift bags.

1 Box Nonfat Instant Milk (8-qt yield size)
1 1-lb. jug of dry nonfat dairy creamer
1 large jar Nestle Quick, Ovaltine or another chocolate milk mix
1 1-lb. box powdered sugar
1 container Hershey’s Powdered Cocoa (Dutch Processed is best)
variations: add 1 jar instant coffee for Mocha Steamer mix

Blend first 3 ingredients together in 1-2 large mixing bowls. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder, sifting if lumpy. Blend mix thoroughly and spoon into jars, bags or store in airtight container. Tie on instructions together with a candy cane or a small bag of mini-marshmallows for a holiday treat.

Print Cocoa Steamer Hot Cocoa instructions to include with gift jars or bags