DIY Holiday Gifts: Cookies in a Jar!
There are just a few days left until Christmas, and I've finally wrapped up all of the gifts. I shopped for a few people, but money is pretty tight this year, so we put most of our efforts into making hand-filled jars of cookie and baking mixes for our friends and family. Its the perfect gift for a foodie, that practical person who only wants things they'll use, and anyone who likes delicious treats. Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already, anyway.
We picked up Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman earlier in the year and totally loved all of her cute packaging ideas. Plus, she puts awesome stuff in jars I never would've thought of like TVP taco 'meat', flavored simple syrups, and popcorn toppings. The book was great inspiration and is highly recommended. But since we write our own recipes, we filled our jars with recipes we had tried and tested. Some friends got coconut bacon, some cornbread or pancakes mixes. But our favorite jars to fill were with our Dark Chocolate Rosemary Cookie Mix. They're the perfect, flavorful Holiday cookie- ultra chewy and filled with chocolate! We hand-made our jars cards with the recipe name on the front and instructions on the back. We hand-wrote it all because it was fun and we like coloring, but you could always type up and print out a tag too. We'll include a PDF at the bottom where you can print the tutorial and copy and paste your tags from there, if you wish.
1 quart sized glass jar (per cookie mix)2 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix
(We used 1 cup teff flour+1 cup almond flour- our favorite blend. Whole wheat works here, too!)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dried, chopped rosemary
(if using fresh rosemary, substitute 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate
Layer items in a quart sized jar in the order listed, beginning with the flour and finishing with the chocolate chips.Once the jar is filled, cover with a lid and close tightly. Decorate with string, ribbon, bows, and anything else you have on hand. We used leftover card stock to make tags, but you can use pre-made labels, stickers, or print your own if you prefer. Cookie Jar mixes last indefinitely, but are best used within a few months of gifting. This recipe is vegan, and when made with GF fours, gluten-free as well.
On an included tag, write the instructions as follows:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine jar of cookie mix 1/2 cup softened coconut or vegetable oil, 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Mix well, until a soft dough forms. Scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges crisp and tops being to crack. Makes 20 cookies. Happy Holidays!
DIY 2-Ingredient Christmas Ornaments!
When I was a little girl, my Mom was all about doing simple, kid-friendly DIY projects like this. She introduced me to the 2-ingredient ornament project, and we've been doing it for years. The recipe is pretty standard, and you probably made these way back in elementary school, yourself. But now you're an adult, and you get to totally wow a kid of your own (or just one you like) by being the coolest and knowing how to make your own fancy Christmas Ornaments. I love this craft because its quick to throw together, easily rolled out and cut, and it makes the house smell amazing! You have enough other things to do over the holidays- keep the extra projects fun & simple.
I enlisted the help of my adorably pregnant friend, Maggie, to help me. She's got the perfect round belly for balancing the mixing bowl, so I pretty much made her do all the work (kidding!). But in reality, she's slowly prepping the house for the arrival of that sweet little bundle and pre-proofing the Christmas tree is just one less thing she'll have to do later. These ornaments won't break very easily and are edible, though I wouldn't recommend it.
(Anyone ever heard of the cinnamon challenge? 'Nuff said.)
I found a pack of single alphabet letters at Target for $1, and we punched little holes in the tops to attach to different stars. They were perfect for personalizing ornaments. Or, use the letters in succession to spell something out. We liked "XMAS", "PEACE", and "JOY", because there were no double letters, but get creative with it.
After the letters, we paid $2 for string, also at Target, and spent about $8 on the cinnamon and applesauce at the grocery store. A grand total of $11 to complete the project from start to finish.
And I would highly recommend buying the cheap store brand version of the cinnamon and applesauce; no need for organic here, there'll be no consumption and certainly no need to spend extra!
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups ground cinnamon
cookie cutters or free-handing tools
a toothpick or chopstick
string or ribbon, for hanging
decorative letters (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, fork together the cinnamon and applesauce until completely combined, forming a cookie-dough like texture. If the dough is too sticky, add a little extra cinnamon. You could also do this in a mixer, but it wasn't hard work mixing it by hand. I made the pregnant lady do it, remember? ;)
Once the batter is mixed, form it into a ball, sprinkle a clean, flat surface like a counter or cutting board with cinnamon, and roll the dough out. Roll until dough is about 1/4 thick, then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. We used a 3-inch star cookie cutter and a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Once shapes have been cut, use the toothpick or chopstick to poke a small hole completely through at some place on the ornament. We mostly made holes at the top of the ornaments, but on some of the stars we made holes in the middle. This is where the string will go.
Once all the dough has been cut, lay the shapes onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. We got about 15 or 16 ornaments from a single batch.
Bake ornaments at 200 degrees for 1.5-2 hours, until ornaments have hardened completely, or leave the cookie sheet in a warm, dry place and let them dry out over the next few days.
Once the ornaments have hardened, they're finished! Loop some string through the holes, add decorative letters if you're doing so, and hang 'em on the tree. They make the house smell amazing and they're the perfect, easy DIY to include the kids in. They'll last until next year if you pack them away, but its so easy- why not just make more next year? Enjoy!
A Thanksgiving DIY: Clove-Spiked Apples