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.

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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+


  1. Peanut Butter Blossoms! Yummy!

  2. I’m loving Peanut Butter Cookies right now!!

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

  4. Ginger spice cookies

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

  6. oatmeal butterscotch!

  7. 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. Chocolate chip cookies!!

  9. My favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin or cransins.

  10. My mother’s Vanishing Oatmeal-Date Pecan cookies.

  11. I’m a snickerdoodle lover!

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

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

  15. 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. 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. I have recently fallen head over heals for peanut butter cookies. 🙂

  18. 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. Such a fun idea! Thanks Ladies. 🙂

  20. 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. I love a classic chocolate chip or snicker doodles!

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

  23. I love chocolate cookies with white and chocolate chips. 🙂

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

  25. Chocolate peanut butter cookies!!!!

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

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

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

  29. I love a good peanut butter cookie!

  30. Peanut butter chocolate chip

  31. I love chocolate chip cookies!

  32. Chocolate chip! I’m a classic cookie kind of girl 🙂

  33. 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.

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

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

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

  37. Chocolate Chip!

  38. Chocolate crinkle!

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

  40. Peanut butter cookies with Rieces Pieces, yummy!! This book is on my Christmas list! 🙂

  41. Love shortbread cookies

  42. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies!

  43. Chocolate chocolate chip

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

  45. 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!

  46. 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!!!!

  47. 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 🙂

  48. My favorite is chocolate chip.

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