You could go to the hassle of baking, or you could present a deconstructed treat.
The easiest home-made gift idea ever
Last Christmas I received a homemade present of cookies in a jar from my niece. This concept of quick cooking had never occurred to me although I had seen jars of rainbow-coloured mixes in specialty shops. It’s not just biscuit mixes either but dried soups, pastas, and even ready-made main meals layered prettily like stained glass and just waiting for liquid to turn them into something delicious.
My niece is a new mother and admits that working in the kitchen is one of the challenging aspects of her life. She is extremely organised so prepares meals when the baby is asleep. Making these jars of premixed ingredients has really helped her manage how and when she bakes.
It surprised me how little mess there was when I actually came to make the cookies from her gift jar. Pour the jar of ingredients into a bowl; add the fixer (butter and egg), give it a stir and you are ready to place on the baking paper. There is only one bowl, one spoon and a jar to clean so it’s quick and efficient.
I have quite a few 2-litre preserving jars and can measure out half a dozen cookies mixes and have them sitting in the pantry, ready to go. Just add the liquid ingredients and it is ready to bind and bake straight away.
I think this is a great gift idea for the busy person who might like home-made cookies but is short of time. Children could make biscuits easily and quickly too. Grab a premixed jar of ingredients and a batch can be whipped up after school for the next day’s lunches. The cookies don’t necessarily have to be high in sugar and fat, and with a little imagination all sorts of variations can be made. You can make meals in a jar for camping or a savoury muffin mix.
Meals in a jar are not new to the market but combining the ingredients yourself when it’s quiet makes best use of your time. You are in control of the ingredients too, so if you are on a low salt or sugar diet you can manage the measurements yourself.
My pantry now has a few rows of dried meals in preserving jars, mostly biscuits but I am experimenting with soups too.
I can give prettily packaged gifts to my friends who have heavy workloads and will appreciate something that they can make themselves at home in minutes, the perfect homemade gift.