Friday, 6 December 2013

Weekly Bake - Cookies in a Jar - a Christmas gift

Helloooo. It's Friday again and oh my its less than three weeks till Christmas (did I just say that?, sorry!). Not sure whether I am feeling excited or just an itsy bitsy frazzled by this prospect as my to-do-list is forever increasing, I mean how does this happen? So the plan this morning, once I got over the shock of Mandela passing (more on that later),  was to start getting to grips with this pesky list that clearly seems to be off with the fairies. Not only did I busy myself in the kitchen making cakes for the School Christmas fair tomorrow, I also managed to make three Christmas presents, hooray!! Tick, tick, tick! 

Now these gifts are such a wonderful idea, which I can't take credit for, and seeing that it fits in perfectly with my weekly bake I figured I might as well share the idea and hopefully inspire a few last minute gift ideas. These very simple 'Cookies in a jar' are so easy to make and fairly inexpensive too. Going on the premise that I reckon most kids love doing a spot of baking, I am sure these little gifts will be a big hit. I made three of them, using two different recipes with a few tweaks here and there, so if you want to give it a go, this is what you will need to get started.



A large jar, I just used some very large old mayo and chutney jars I had in the cupboard

1 3/4 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cocoa
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup m&m's or something similar. I like the idea of a bit of colour

Mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt and set aside
Start by filling your jar with the dark brown sugar as it is the heaviest, then white and then some of the cocoa followed by some chocolate chips. Then start adding your flour mixture and alternate with cocoa powder and chocolate chips till all the ingredients are used. Decorate your jar as you chose and attached the instructions  below.

Hopefully you can just print out the instructions below that needs to be attached to the jar.


1.        Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C

2.      Empty cookie mix into a large bowl and thoroughly

 blend the mixture by hand

3.      Mix in ¾ cup of softened butter or margarine

4.      Mix in 1 egg, slightly beaten

5.      Mix in 1tsp of Vanilla essence

6.       Shape the mixture into walnut size balls and

place around 2 inches apart on parchment paper

7.       Bake for 10-15 minutes

The other two jars were filled with ingredients for Chocolate Brownies, a definite favourite with my kids.

1 1/4 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cups of cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

To fill your jar, simply mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and fill the bottom of the jar, then add some of the cocoa powder and then the majority of the sugar, followed by the last of the cocoa powder and the last the last of the sugar. Put the chocolate chips on top. Decorate your jar if you wish and add the following instruction for your little recipient.


1.         Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C

2.        Grease and flour a baking pan (9 x 13 inch)

3.        Empty jar of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl and mix by hand

4.        Mix in ¾ cup of melted butter and 4 eggs

5.        Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan

6.        Bake for 25-30 minutes

7.        Cool completely before cutting into 2 inch squares

Tomorrow is our School Christmas fair and I wanted to make some reindeer cupcakes for the kids that I made last year for our annual Christmas get together as the kids absolutely loved them, but this time I made a few improvements. Firstly I used small marshmallows, which I cut in half and then marked the eyes using an edible food pen.

Secondly I used some Giant Buttons for the base of the nose and then made some red noses out of royal icing (using food colouring paste and not liquid) and cutting the shapes with the lid of my almond essence bottle. This looks so much better than the smarties I used last year and it also seems a great deal sturdier.

For the cake mix I just used my Gluten and Dairy free Chocolate Cake recipe to make 24 cupcakes, the recipe can be found here. From experience I know now that there are always a need for allergen free cakes at the school and needles to say I am more than happy to supply these. For the antlers my doh came to the rescue and managed to find some chocolate pretzels.


This week little Es and me had some special time without the boys so we made the very most of it by unwrapping some baubles..

and putting a few decorations here and there and all this whilst blissfully singing full pelt to Michael Buble's Christmas album without the constant nagging of the boys to change the record 'cos its boring'. Instead we giggled and repeated a few tunes and Mummy even got a little excited that she might just again be kissing Santa Claus on Christmas eve...

We are off to get our tree tomorrow after the School fair and needless to say we are all very excited.

Before I go I just wanted to pay tribute to the most remarkable man of our time. Not only did he bring a rainbow nation together, but somehow he united the world. We all respected and admired him, and I can't think of another leader that achieved global success in the same way that Nelson Mandela did. He fought for equality in South Africa, but also around the world. He was a beacon of hope and he leaves behind the most remarkable legacy that will continue to drive and inspire many generations still to come. He touched my life personally and being a child of apartheid, I was there when he was released, and there when he was inaugurated in 1994, and today I lit a candle for Madiba for being a saint who brought some level of peace to the world. I will always remember him as a strong and gracious man who wore wonderful shirts, laughed and stood up to the world for what he believed in. Madiba you were a truly remarkable man, may you rest in Peace.

photo borrowed from newsinfo.

Warm Wishes


  1. Such a moving tribute Hannapat. He was a wonderful man, who lived a hard, but amazing life.

    The cookie and brownie gifts look great, as do your cupcakes, I hope that they all go down/went down well. xx

  2. What a lovely tribute to a truely wonderful man. The cookie jars are such a fab idea, as for lists I think my lists have lists, so much to do so little energy, we'll get there, have a great time at the school fair and finding the perfect tree, the reindeer cakes look top banana, have a great weekend
    Clare xxxx

  3. This is a beautiful tribute a a truly remarkable man. He i=will be missed by the entire world. I love all of your baking projects, you are so talented.

  4. Your recipes look delicious. The reindeer are so adorable! I love cookies-in-a-jar. Years ago I made about three dozen as favors for my sister's bridal shower. I did lots of fancy lace and ribbon on the lids.

  5. A lovely post Hannapat. I have seen those cookie jars before and think they are a brilliant idea.XX

  6. Lovely reindeers there! Yes, we've lost one very special man he has however left one great legacy! :) x

  7. I love your jars, that is a fantastic gift idea! I've shared this with a friend on the Pre-school committee, and we're going to make these for the Pre-school teaching staff! Those reindeer cupcakes are soooo cute, I have to make them with the girls...I can't wait for your fair update, I'm sure you'll be a big hit. And I thought of you with the passing of Mandela, we are so very lucky to have witnessed his impact on the world. Cxxx

  8. The day after Madiba's passing I spent virtually the whole day watching tributes on the telly and listening to the radio. We all knew he was gravely ill, but it still came as a shock. I feel like I have lost a family member, and yet I have never met him face to face. What was it about that man that could endear him to so many people ? Humility - and love for all people. He truly was remarkable and will be sadly missed by all South Africans. But his legacy will remain forever. We love you Madiba!
    Your Christmas gift jars are amazing! And so are the reindeer cookies. Hope your list soon gets shorter - Christmas is upon us. xxx

  9. Hi there Hannapat

    Yes, as you know I too was a child of apartheid and it was such a victorious day when Mandela was released and became President in 1994. I will never forget the feelings I felt having been sent to a muti-racial private school my parents had the fore sight to instil a sense of justice and equality in me and my sister from an early age. What an absolutely incredible man he was and how very privileged for us to have lived through and witnessed his changes to our land. I can only hope and pray that all the greed, crime, corruption and huge unemployment issues can be addressed again with the inspiration of Madiba's legacy and his principles of equality in economics as well as racial equality. It saddens me to see and hear about the reality of SA 20 years down the line.
    I come from Durban, my parents still live there and my sister and her family live in New York. I have loads of aunts and uncles and cousins still living in SA. I pray for their future and that God will truly bless South Africa. Where are you from?

    Thanks for sharing your recipes here, I love this idea, it's a cheerful family present to give xox Penny

  10. Dearest Hannapat you have been in my thoughts for a little while now as I was bothered that you were taking so much on and this hearing the very sad news this week you were on my mind again. He leaves a wonderful legacy for the rest of the world to carry on his work in the way he would have wanted - he leaves a massive gap in our hearts and souls. God bless him. Take care of yourself Hannapat, a special hug to you and your lovely family.

  11. Love your jars, thats a wonderful idea, i have a couple of tricky people to sort out and you may have just ticked two off my list ..... thank you.
    Cute cupcakes!
    A wonderful man indeed ..... he will never be forgotten x
    love jooles xxx

    P.S thank you for your very sweet comments on my blog x

  12. I love the cookie jar idea very clever....and your cup cakes , I bet they raced out the door,
    Thea xx

  13. These are such a wonderful idea Hannapat, both beautiful looking and delicious! Very inspiring :-) And speaking of which, the world has lost a truly wonderful man......hope you are having a wonderful week and congrats also on your Etsy shop opening! Mel x

  14. Such a wonderful post, just bursting with festive loveliness. Your cookie jars are brilliant, I like the way you can see the layers through the glass. Your reindeer cupcakes are just fabulous - I may be stealing that idea! And yes, the world lost a great man last week. I thought of you and my other South African friends when I heard the news. Take care lovely. xx

  15. Hello I'am Chris !!

    You Have A Wonderful Blog Which I Consider To Be Registered In International Blog Dictionary. You Will Represent Your Country
    World-Directory is 192 countries in the world! and thousands of blogs
    Please Visit The Following Link And Comment Your Blog Name
    Blog Url
    Location Of Your Country Operating In Comment Session Which Will Be Added In Your Country List
    On the right side, in the "green list", you will find all the countries and if you click them, you will find the names of blogs from that Country.
    Happy Blogging
    You can forward this invitation to your friends

    Registration for the "Directory" blog, are free.
    We only ask you to follow the blog. Thank you for your understanding

    Last news of "Directory Blogspot" "
    Soon we will award the best Fashion blog and Makeup, crafts, handmade, cooking, paintings
    The Competition is open

    …....... /)
    ……... ( , )
    ……..|░░░|☆ Merry _(♥)_

  16. I love the cookies in the jar idea. How very neat and you have packaged it so beautifully!

  17. Dear Hannapat,

    What a wonderful post filled with sweetness of every kind. Those baubles and those adorable cakes! Oh my! Blogland has most definitely become a lovlier place since you arrive :-)

    Warmest wishes for a lovely December.


  18. The cookies in a jar is such a great gift idea! Your packaging is really beautiful too.
    Marianne x