Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift in a Jar: Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate

I have two more days of work left, and I am feeling a little more calm and less frazzled than last time I posted.  I actually feel like I am getting some things accomplished which makes me relax a little.  I told you in the last post that I was probably not going to have time to post the goodies I am making for Christmas, but I wanted to post a couple of good food related gifts instead.  If the wine jelly wasn't your thing, maybe these cookies in a jar will be.

Jars dressed up with red and white checked ribbon and recipe cards
Actually, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what type of gift to give co-workers and room moms at my school (I'm a teacher) without making the typical baked goods.  It seems you get so many baked goods this time of year (all delicious and appreciated, of course) that sometimes you need something that can hold off until all the other sweets are gone.  In comes the cookie mix in a jar idea.  Having a pre-made cookie mix ready to make in the jar is ideal.  You can add some butter, an egg, and a little vanilla and have homemade cookies in just about the time it takes you to open a pack of store-bought cookie dough and bake it.  This is better, though, because you know the ingredients are fresh, and you know what's in it.

My favorite jars were the ones with the burlap ribbon in the left side of this picture.  They were just simple and pretty.
I realize these cookies, like any others, contain sugar.  However, I like to think of these cookies as wholesome.  Even though they have all the caloric ingredients, they are also chewy from oats and bursting with dried cranberries.  Health food, right?  Maybe not, but they are definitely better for you than some of the alternative cookies you could be eating this time of year. 

Cookies cooling- don't you just love Christmas?
So, whether you make a jar for yourself or make several jars as gifts, I think you will agree that they are easy, tasty, and pretty darn good looking all dressed up with ribbons and bows. 

Two warm cookies and a glass of cold milk- the perfect snack
I got the cookie in a jar idea and recipe online.  I am posting the recipe at the bottom of the page, but it originally came from this site.  I did change a little about the recipe including how it was layered in the jar and a few of the steps when mixing the ingredients with the butter.  I thought that the jars on this site were pretty cool looking, so I layered mine in a similar way.  I did dress them up a little differently to give them as gifts.  I just used twine to tie the recipe card (printed on cardstock) onto the neck of a quart jar.  I then tied ribbon (some red check and some burlap) around the twine to cover it. 

Of course, before you give a gift like this, you must try the recipe first.  I made a jar for myself, mixed the cookies according to the directions, and baked them.  They were chewy with a hint of cinnamon and a little sweetness from the white chocolate, and they made the house smell heavenly.  Even my husband who doesn't like cookies with cranberries couldn't get enough of these. 

I hope you enjoy whatever goodies you are making this holiday season, and most importantly, enjoy time with friends and family.  Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate (in a jar)
makes approximately two dozen cookies

For Each Quart Jar:
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

For mixing the cookies:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparing the Jar:
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  Use a funnel to put this mixture into the bottom of a quart jar.  Tap the jar lightly on the counter to help the flour mixture settle.  Add the brown sugar and use a spoon to pack it down a little into the jar.  Add the granulated sugar.  Add the oats into the jar and use a spoon to press them down.  Next, add the cranberries.  Press the cranberries down using a spoon or your fingers to make some room at the top of the jar.  Finally, add the white chocolate chips (you will probably have to add about 1/2 cup of the chips, press them down, and then add the rest).  The ingredients will just fit into the jar and should fill it to the top.  Place the lid on the jar.  This mix should be used within about 2 weeks to prevent the brown sugar from hardening.

For mixing the cookies:
(write on a recipe card or piece of paper when giving)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat 1 stick softened butter, 1 egg, and ½ teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer until blended.  Add the ingredients from the jar and mix on low until moistened and combined.  Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 3 inches between each cookie.  Bake 12-16 minutes until lightly browned and set on top.  Cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container 2-3 days.  Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

1 comment:

  1. I love the cookies. They are one of my best tea time snacks that I have. The combination of oatmeal with cookies is healthy and nutritious.

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