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.

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+


  1. I have a killer sugar cookie recipe that makes my husband melt. I also love a good snicker doodle!

  2. Snickerdoodle!

  3. Chocolate chip are my favorite.

  4. My Grandma used to make a date filled sugar cookie that was to die for. Yum!

  5. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like! 🙂 I’m a simple girl, I love choc chip cookies! 🙂

  6. Love these ideas. My favorite are peanut butter chocolate chip or Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. Or basically anything chewy and delicious!

  7. My favorite cookie is cocoa-oatmeal (no bake)!

  8. What a wonderful idea! My favorite cookie is chipless chocolate chip! I love when I make chocolate chip cookies and some don’t get chips! Yummmm

  9. I make a big batch of oatmeal cookie dough – then to part of the dough I add chocolate chips, to another part I add raisins …. whatever is in the cupboard. I love the cookies in a jar idea.

  10. I love good ole chocolate chip cookies!

  11. My all time favorite cookie is oatmeal. but I am loving the monster cookie recipe – can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway!

  12. Love cranberry and white chocolate (and macadamia nut!) cookies…

  13. Chocolate Pixies – balls of refrigerated chocolate dough rolled in powdered sugar and baked. Yum!

  14. My grandmother’s cookies are my favorite but I’m not sure what they’re called. They’re Italian with white frosting and sprinkles and they instantly remind me of childhood.

  15. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies!

  16. I love white chocolate macadamia nut!

  17. Snickerdoodle!

  18. I love homemade sugar cookies (soft ones!) with buttercream frosting! 🙂

  19. my favorite cookie is definitely gingerbread 🙂 iced or plain doesn’t get any better

  20. i love a classic peanut butter cookie (the real soft kind) with chocolate chips! my very fave!

  21. Hot chocolate meringue cookies!

  22. Oatmeal butterscotch!

  23. I like Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

  24. I love peanutbutter blossoms!!!!!!!!

  25. I love those no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. . .reminds me of my Nanaw!

  26. Old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies!

  27. My favorite cookies are Cowboy Cookies…. chocolate chips with oatmeal. I’ve been making them since I was in high school and they are a favorite of my entire family. I HAVE to make them for every road trip we go on so we have a sweet treat.

  28. I love chocolate ginger cookies

  29. Favorite cookie: Ginger snaps

  30. My favorite cookies are Cowboy Cookies! I’m Texan, so maybe that’s why? 🙂

  31. My favorite cookie is a good old fashioned oatmeal & raisin, soft, warm & delicious!

  32. My favorites are PB chocolate oatmeal no bakes!

  33. my favorite cookie is a decorated sugar cookie…not only is it pretty to look at it tastes so good.

  34. I love the idea of a gift basket with all of the goodies and a cookbook inside. My favorite cookie is apricot, pecan, oatmeal.

  35. My favorite cookie is Cranberry Hootycreeks, which are also great for a gift in a jar.

  36. Probably a chocolate crackle cookie. Im a sucker for lots of chocolate and sugar!

  37. Coconut cookies!

  38. I love decorated sugar cookies

  39. Love Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Macadamia and Peanut Butter 🙂 THANKS for hosting!!

  40. What’s not to love about cookies? My favorite are shortbread. Oh! and macaroons.

  41. I love huge cinnamon raisin oatmeal cookies, baked on an airbake pan.

  42. My favorite cookie is green tea (matcha) cookies 🙂

  43. Nutella stuffed sugar cookies

  44. We love to do a suger cookie in a jar…. All looks yummy

  45. oatmeal lace!

  46. Always love just a nice soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie – with coffee, of course!

  47. I like my Fancy Cookies (easy to make) but my grandkids insist on my M & M cookies. I am giving gifts in a jar this year, so this would be so great.

  48. Only one? I love cookies!!! If I must only pick one favorite…My mom’s oatmeal raisin cookies.

  49. Mexican Wedding cookies

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