Every year, I plan and make an edible present that I give to my clients and friends who live out of town. This tradition started three years ago, a year after I decided to become freelance again. I was so grateful for the clients who had decided to trust me that I felt like I needed to say thank you in something other than words. Given that French macarons are what launched Food Nouveau (which I started around the same time as my freelance career), they seemed like the perfect choice. I made a big batch of the dainty Parisian cookie and couriered the precious boxes to my (grateful) clients.
That first year set the bar pretty high, so for the following couple of years, I opted for baking and packaging a selection of my favorite cookies. This yearly tradition became an opportunity for me to satisfy my love for crafts (which I don’t often get to indulge), as well as to create and assemble a different packaging and holiday card every year to ship the sweets.
When the fourth year came around, I was over eight months pregnant in early December, so I didn’t see myself baking for hours on end. I decided to switch things up and present a DIY gift: Brownies in a Jar. Dry ingredients are layered in a pretty glass jar, and the recipient simply needs to mix in water, oil, and eggs to create decadent Chocolate, Pecan, and Butterscotch Brownies. I also included an easy-to-make butterscotch sauce to drizzle liberally over the brownies—for extra decadence—and provided more toppings to make the dessert gift- and holiday-worthy.
Not only does Brownies in a Jar look impressive, but the baked result is out of this world! A lot of people don’t have time to make freshly baked treats for themselves these days, so providing a shortcut to make brownies from scratch is a gift in so many ways! It doesn’t hurt that the brownies are so easy to make either: kids will happily make them, if you feel like delegating. Simply watch them assemble the dessert and enjoy the results! How’s that for a holiday treat?
Here are the materials I use to make Brownies in a Jar:
- 3-cup capacity latch lid glass jars (similar to these – you can usually find them at the Dollar Store), or 25.5 oz (750 ml) Mason jars
- 1/2-cup capacity latch lid glass jars for the butterscotch sauce (similar to these – also sold at the Dollar Store)
- Cut out snowflake ribbon (similar to this)
- Jute twine (similar to this – available in any hardware store)
- Fuchsia and silver cover paper, diagonal folder invitation enclosures, and square envelopes (color: gravel), for the cards and packaging
- Clear treat bags (similar to these)
- Edible glitter stars
I tied the simplified assembly instructions to the jar containing the dry ingredients, but I also decided to include the full recipe (inserted in the card), in case the recipients want to make the brownies again, which I’m sure they will!
You can easily customize this easy recipe to use your favorite garnishes instead of the pecan-caramel combination: white chocolate and macadamia nuts, dried cherries or cranberries, walnuts, milk chocolate chips, toffee bits, or salted caramel chips would all be fantastic additions. The best thing about this homemade gift is that it is super quick to put together, especially if you make them assembly line-style, but it makes a really big impression. Brownies in a Jar are perfect for everyone on your list, including teachers, daycare workers, or anyone who deserves a little something special this holiday season.
Makes 16 squares.
Brownies in a jar are the perfect DIY gift for the sweet lovers on your list! Simply add water, oil, and eggs to bake a decadent chocolatey treat.
15 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the water, canola oil and eggs and mix with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Let cool completely.
Recipe Credit: Inspired by a recipe by Ricardo Magazine.
Simplified assembly instructions for the dry ingredients gift jar (print on a small label and tie to the jar):
To make the brownies
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter an 8-in square baking dish and line with parchment paper. Pour the contents of this jar in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 2 eggs and whisk until the mixture comes together. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Let cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!