Sand Art Cookie Jars

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It’s been 18 years since we published the very first reader-tip for Sand Art Cookies in Debt-Proof Living Newsletter. Basically, this is a canning jar layered with the dry ingredients required to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The effect is very attractive. Topping the lid with a holiday embellishment or round of calico fabric plus a tag giving the recipient instructions on how to prepare the cookies is the final touch.
It took a few tries to get the recipe and the portions right. But I have to tell you that those Sand Art Cookie Jars were a major hit for me that year and many years since. Since then, we’ve published dozens of other ideas for “jar gifts” for everything from edibles to journals, sewing kits to emergency kits. Just about anything you can stuff into a canning jar has the potential to be a unique and practical gift.

Step 1

General Instructions: Jar gifts are prepared in a wide-mouth, one-quart size canning jar unless otherwise noted. We recommend you get new jars for food items, or if you’ll be recycling jars be sure they are sterilized and always use new lids.
It is important that you measure the ingredients in a jar gift very carefully whenever a specific amount is given, erring on the side of scant. There will be occasions when you’re sure all of the ingredients will not fit, but they will.
Jar gifts with measured ingredients that form layers are very precise. If you don’t get all of it into the jar, it will turn out poorly for your recipient, but also the layers will shift in transit. The secret is to end up with no air space at all. For layered gifts, you must pack the ingredients very tightly, especially the flour. It will compress significantly, so be diligent. Hint: The end of a wooden spoon makes a great “packing” implement.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Layered to look like “sand art,” this fabulous cookie mix makes the perfect gift for anyone on any special occasion.
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, mixed with 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt
Layer ingredients in the jar in the order given, pressing each layer firmly in place before adding the next. Everything will fit if you are diligent to pack each layer tightly, particularly the brown sugar and all-purpose flour. Measure carefully.
Attach this message to jar: Empty cookie mix into large mixing bowl. Thoroughly blend mix with spoon. Add 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine (not diet or tub variety), 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla.
Mix thoroughly. Shape into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F for 7 to 10 minutes, or until just slightly golden. Do not overbake. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to racks to finish cooling. These cookies will not firm up until completely cooled. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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