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Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas in a jar....

Wondering what to give for Christmas this year when you don't have time to make all those cookie trays from previous years? Everyone rants and raves when they receive my gluten free cookie trays, but this year I find I just don't have the time to spend in the kitchen with all the other projects on my calendar that needs my attention.

For years now I have given these as gifts as a token of my appreciation and because... lets face it....they are just so darn good!!!.

That is when I decided this year to give the gift of convenience – both for me and the recipient of the gift, and to make up gluten-free cookie mixes in jars. Much easier for me, and beautiful too!

For me the gift is so perfectly convenient since no baking is required and many jars can be assembled at one time. For the recipient the gift is perfect since they can bake the cookies after the holidays when all the hustle and bustle has subsided and their stomachs have settled from the many platters of holiday cookies that have been gobbled up.

For this project I use a 1 quart mason jar with a screw top lid. A wide mouth jar is easier to get the ingredients in layers, and using a canning funnel makes the job easier too.

Remember that there is 4 cups in 1 quart. This means that all of the ingredients that you include in your 1 quart jar should equal approximately 4 cups. So it is best to stick to recipes where the dry ingredients needed measure around this amount.

Making jar mixes is somewhat like dressing for any occasion....layer it.  When you layer the ingredients put the lighter ingredients such as gluten-free flours and granulated sugars at the bottom of the jar. Then layer with the medium textured items like oatmeal or raisins. At the top is where you them place the chunkier ingredients such as candy bar pieces, chocolate chips or M&M's.

After you put in your first layer of ingredients  push the ingredient down with the back of a spoon. This will make a better presentation and helps ensure that all the ingredients fit into the jar.

For example the recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Cookies that follows should be layered like this:

1 quart Mason jar. layer in first the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt mixture. Then a layer of cocoa powder followed by a layer of sugar, and finally the layer of chocolate chips. make sure you use a spoon to press down each layer before adding the next. Then add a tag with baking directions on a bow to finish off the gift jar...

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (Better Batter works well or use your own favorite blend)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum ( omit if the mix you are using already has it in)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

** The above ingredients are layered into the jar.

To bake add:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teas pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, slightly beaten at room temperature


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and whisk until well combined. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss with 2 T of the dry ingredients to coat and set aside.

Add the softened butter, vanilla, and eggs to the dry ingredients, mixing until the dough comes together. Add the chips and stir until the chips are evenly distributed in the dough. Place bowl with dough if refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes.

Using a cookie scoop place balls of dough on a non stick cookie sheet, pressing down just slightly, into the preheated oven and bake 10-12 minutes until just set. Cool completely before placing on cookie racks. Then enjoy!!!

Have a great gluten free day...


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