Give Gifts in Jars: Monster Cookie Mix


I have a special treat for you all today!  My dear friend, Shaina Olmanson from the popular blog, Food For My Family and author of Desserts in Jars has graciously offered to guest post with some tips on how to give gifts in jars!  I think Shaina is playing Santa……. she is also sharing a recipe from her book, along with a free printable AND she has a few copies of her cookbook to giveaway to three lucky TidyMom readers!  Sweet!!


 Monster Cookie Mix in a Jar Gift Basket

Let’s talk gifts. I have a difficult time with gift giving. It has nothing to do with the actual giving of the gifts; it is in the buying of the gifts. I don’t want to grab the generic gift card or a bottle of wine and hand it off to my aunt or sister-in-law and call it good. I would rather give something that’s thoughtful or that comes created by my hands. For me it’s the difference between a gift just to cross it off your list or to be thoughtful and purposeful in your giving, to show that you care for and appreciate that person.

For years we’ve been sending hot chocolate mixes as teachers’ gifts and pancake mix for the aunts and uncles. Here are a few ways to give gifts in jars:

  • As part of a gift basket: If you’re sending a care package of sorts, a gift mix or a cupcake in a jar can be the perfect treat to add to your gift.
  • As a handmade touch to a gift card: There are those people who are too hard to buy for or they would really appreciate the gift card. Adding a little sweetness to the gift cards still gives them something to open and hold onto, without foregoing the plastic.
  • A gift for the baker: A gift basket with Desserts in Jars, a set of jars, and a few other treats can be the perfect way to inspire your baking beloved in the kitchen.
  • As the gift itself: A jar full of cookie mix or hot chocolate makes a great homemade gift on its own, too. Give something sweet to those who have been sweet in your life.

When we moved to a new neighborhood, monster cookies were the first things gifted to us by a neighbor welcoming us to our new home. They’re one of our favorite cookies, and they make the perfect holiday gift.

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Monster Cookie Mix in a Jar at

Monster Cookie Mix

Monster Cookie Mix


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup candy-coated chocolate candies or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans


  1. Mix together the granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Pour into a 1-quart mason jar. Top with a layer of half of the oats. Add the candies in a layer, and top with a layer of brown sugar. Top with a layer of the remaining oats and then a layer of pecans. Seal with the lid, decorate the jar, and attach a label with these instructions for the recipient:
  2. Monster Cookies:
  3. 3/4 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter (not natural)
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 eggs lightly beaten
  7. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and eggs in a bowl. Add the contents of jar. Form the dough into 2-inch balls and set on a lined cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the tops of the cookies begin to brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

© TidyMom. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

NEW FEATURE: Save recipes to your personal recipe box with the Once you have your favorite recipes in your Recipe Box create a Meal Plan with them and the ingredients will automatically be added to a Grocery List!

To make this cute gift, I have included a FREE MONSTER COOKIE PRINTABLE for your jars! Because this gift in a jar is a mix, you want to be sure the recipient knows how to bake up a yummy batch! Click the image below to print a page of 5 labels.

FREE Printable Monster Cookies Instruction Label at

click to print your FREE Monster Cookie Labels


To make your gift even more sweet…….I’m giving away 3 copies of my book, Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine  available at Target, World Market, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookseller

GIVEAWAY has ended.  Congrats to #41 Emily, #192 Micky and #207 Dallas

Desserts in Jars Cover

buy on Amazon

Find more details on


To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite cookie. (If you’re reading this via email, please click over to the post and leave a comment directly.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Must be over 18. Giveaway begins on December 5, 2012 will end on December 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm CST. Prize value $16.95.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Three winners with a valid entry will be selected at random using Winners will be notified by email by December 15, 2012 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. TidyMom, and Harvard Common Press are not responsible for lost or undelivered emails. Winners will be posted on this blog post by December 30, 2012.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  By entering this giveaway, you have agreed to these rules.  Giveaway sponsored by Harvard Common Press .

 Good luck to everyone!

Shaina Olmanson Food for My FamilyShaina Olmanson is the cook, freelance writer, and photographer behind Food for My Family, which was named one of the top ten Top 100 Mom Food Blogs by in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She is the author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine, has served as the food editor for LifetimeMoms and daily contributor to Babble’s Family Kitchen, and contributes regularly to and She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband and their four kids.

more by Cheryl »

Cheryl Sousan

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Cheryl chronicles her journey through homemaking on her blog,, where she shares recipes, tutorials, crafting and her ever-growing love for photography. This St. Louis mom juggles her passion for life, her daughters and her tiger-loving husband, all while her obsession with tidiness cleans up the trail blazed behind her. Google+

420 Responses to “Give Gifts in Jars: Monster Cookie Mix”

  1. Jenny posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:04 am (#

    Peanut Butter Blossoms! Yummy!

  2. Kim S. posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:04 am (#

    I’m loving Peanut Butter Cookies right now!!

  3. Janet posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:18 am (#

    My favorite cookie is a good old chocolate chip with dark chocolate ghiradelli! Yum.

  4. Evelyn R posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:28 am (#

    Ginger spice cookies

  5. Marsha posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:29 am (#

    My favorite, this time of year, is an iced sugar cookie.

  6. Anne London posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:30 am (#

    oatmeal butterscotch!

  7. Sabrina Lewis posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:34 am (#

    I’m a lover of all cookies but the traditional chocolate chunk cookie is my favorite! Guess I need to make some now….lol

  8. KarenK posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:35 am (#

    Chocolate chip cookies!!

  9. Pauline Gudas posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:35 am (#

    My favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin or cransins.

  10. Rhonda Cunningham-Phillips posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:37 am (#

    My mother’s Vanishing Oatmeal-Date Pecan cookies.

  11. SalBug posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:38 am (#

    I’m a snickerdoodle lover!

  12. Rhiannon Metzger posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:38 am (#

    My favorite cookie is a yummy oatmeal raisin! I used to have a co-worker whose wife made the best oatmeal raisin cookies ;-)

  13. Priscilla posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:41 am (#

    My favorite cookie would be gingerbread cookies. I purposely do not make them until the holidays for two reasons: one, so they are special and two, so I won’t eat them :)!

  14. Anik posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:41 am (#

    My favorite cookie is chocolate peppermint candy cane crunch!! yumm.

  15. Em Walker posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:44 am (#

    I love chocolate chip just fine but, I’m partial to a good Snickerdoodle cookie. Sadly, I have not been able to make a decent one yet though! :(

  16. Prerna@The Mom Writes posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:44 am (#

    While I’m not eligible for the giveaway, Shaina and Cheryl.. I just had to comment and thank you for sharing that lovely mix in a jar recipe and printable.. Thank you! I look forward to checking out your book when it reaches stores here in India:-)

  17. Angela king posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:47 am (#

    I have recently fallen head over heals for peanut butter cookies. :)

  18. Michele N posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:52 am (#

    My favorite cookies are my grandma’s cake cookie recipe. The original is lemon chocolate chip coconut but I have since made all different flavor combinations. I like them because they are a soft chewy cookie and your imagination is the limit for flavor combinations.

  19. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:56 am (#

    Such a fun idea! Thanks Ladies. :)

  20. Kirsten @One Tough Mother posted on December 5, 2012 at 7:58 am (#

    Ya know, you can’t go wrong with good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies! I love them when they have that little crunch on the outside and ooey-gooey centers, warm out of the oven.

    Ok, now that I’m drooling on my keyboard….thanks for hosting a giveaway! Cute gift ideas, too :) Merry Christmas!

  21. Lisa K posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:00 am (#

    I love a classic chocolate chip or snicker doodles!

  22. Amy @ Living Locurto posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:01 am (#

    I love gifts in a jar!

  23. Melody posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:05 am (#

    I adore gooey butter cake cookies! They are delicious & easy to make!

  24. Cara Gilbertson posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:10 am (#

    I love chocolate cookies with white and chocolate chips. :)

  25. Mia posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:11 am (#

    I love peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss in the middle. or sugar cookies yum

  26. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:13 am (#

    This is such a fabulous idea!

  27. Karen posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:13 am (#

    Chocolate peanut butter cookies!!!!

  28. Sarah G posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:15 am (#

    My favorite cookies are cutouts, made using a family recipe.

  29. Jeanne Bancroft posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:15 am (#

    Although I don’t make them nearly often enough, Lemon Anginetti cookies rock my world!

  30. Aimee @ Simple Bites posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:17 am (#

    Great post! I can definitely recommend this book. Love giving edible gifts too!

  31. Sarah posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:24 am (#

    I love a good peanut butter cookie!

  32. Shannon posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:25 am (#

    Peanut butter chocolate chip

  33. Shari Kelley posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:28 am (#

    I love chocolate chip cookies!

  34. Emily S. posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:31 am (#

    Chocolate chip! I’m a classic cookie kind of girl :)

  35. Chrissy B posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:35 am (#

    It is so hard to pick a favorite, but I would have to go with Spritz, or Peanut Butter Blossoms for this time of year. Although you can never go wrong with chocolate chip too.

  36. Miss Rachel P. posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:37 am (#

    Hmm, my favorite cookie would be….straight up oatmeal (no raisins) and then probably my pumpkin spice snickerdoodles. :)

  37. Deb posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:40 am (#

    My favorite cookie is Chocolate Chip, warm from the oven!

  38. A posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:43 am (#

    The giant, big-as-my-head, so not made from scratch, chocolate chip, mint, caramel cookies my husband occasionally surprises me with.

  39. Angie posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:49 am (#

    Chocolate Chip!

  40. Lorrie posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:02 am (#

    Chocolate crinkle!

  41. Emily posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:10 am (#

    Favorite cookie of all time is Girl Scouts Tagalongs!! If you mean favorite cookie that can be baked at home–probably chocolate chip. :)

  42. Holly posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 am (#

    Peanut butter cookies with Rieces Pieces, yummy!! This book is on my Christmas list! :)

  43. Ellen Casper posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 am (#

    Love shortbread cookies

  44. Juli posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 am (#

    White chocolate macadamia nut cookies!

  45. Andy posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:12 am (#

    Chocolate chocolate chip

  46. Marlene posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:12 am (#

    My favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin.Thank you for this giveaway.

  47. Laura Scott posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:13 am (#

    Great hostess gifts, too.

    As a household of one, I find these are a good size batch, as well. I really don ‘t need dozens of cookies sitting around. Thank you!

  48. BJ posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:16 am (#

    My favorite cookie usually is the one I am eating at the time. Right now it is Magic cookie bars…….eeewww so gooey and chewy and and chocolatey and Carmely …….,Oh heavens, now I have to go get another one!!!!

  49. Eileen posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:17 am (#

    I love making gifts with jars. I just posted one of my gift ideas using a jar too! My favorite cookie is old-fashioned rolled sugar cookie with buttery icing. I have yet to make them because once I do my willpower will disappear :)

  50. DinT posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:18 am (#

    My favorite is chocolate chip.

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