Like everybody, I have some favourite recipes I bake up every year for Christmas. I’ve always loved giving gifts of food but it’s not always practical to give ready-made things unless you know that it will be eaten right away, especially at this time of year when everyone is baking and giving baking away. One of my solutions is to make up “Brownies in a Jar” as a long-lasting substitute for a lovely homemade baked gift. It works as a perfect hostess gift because it looks beautiful, but also is very practical and easy to whip up any time. It’s especially great for those that love homemade baking but don’t normally keep ingredients on hand to do it themselves.
For those of us that have almost given up canning, but still have lots of quart canning jars around, this is also a great way of recycling them. You can decorate the jar with a circle of cloth on the lid tied with ribbon and add some decorations to hang from the instruction tags.
One year, the Grandkids all made up a bunch to give to their teachers for Christmas gifts and I think it was a hit with everyone. If you can find the multi-coloured vanilla chips, they make the presentation in the jar even prettier.
You can also make a bunch of these up ahead of time and keep them in the freezer to stay fresh so they are ready to give out at Christmas time or whenever you need a quick gift. It always brings a smile to the face of the recipient. The jar of ingredients will keep up to 6 months on the shelf, or even longer in the freezer. If you’re giving the Brownies in a Jar to someone who doesn’t do a lot of baking or someone who is just starting out, adding the 9 X 9 baking pan makes it an even nicer gift.
BROWNIES IN A JAR
1 1/8 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Mix the flour and salt together and then put into the bottom of a 1 quart Mason canning jar, or any other clean 1 quart jar and level out flat. In the order that the ingredients are listed, carefully layer them one by one on top of each other, finishing with the nuts. Put the lid on tightly and decorate jar if desired. On a separate tag, neatly print out the following instructions. (or you can use your printer to print the tags I’ve included here. Just click on the print image icon below for a printable page.)
EXTRA INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO ADD TO JAR CONTENTS
2/3 cup cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
TO BAKE BROWNIES
• Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9” square baking pan.
• Take a large bowl and beat 4 eggs, 1/3 cup of oil and 1 tsp. vanilla.
• Add contents of jar, stir until well mixed and then spread in baking pan.
• Bake for 25-30 minutes until done. (test with toothpick) Makes 16 brownies.