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. Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies and preferably hot out of the oven!

  2. Pingback: Edible Homemade Gifts for the Holidays | Food for My Family

  3. My favorite cookies are definitely big, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies.

  4. My favorite cookies would have to be White Chocolate Macadamia nut.

  5. It’s tough to pick just one but a sure favorite is Martha Stewart’s Double Chocolate Chunk cookies!

  6. Snicker doodles are my absolute favorite

  7. Love those Monster Cookies. Our family favorite!

  8. I think my favorite cookie is a good ole chocolate chip cookie with pecans.

  9. Pingback: Holiday Cookie Baking Tips | TidyMom

  10. I love all cookies but if I had to pick a favorite, I would go with TidyMom’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in the world!

  11. Love me a chocolate crinkle cookie

  12. I love the classic chocolate chip cookie!!

  13. peanut butter chocolate chunk!

  14. It’s tough to choose just one favorite cookie! I guess if I have to choose, I’d say the molasses spice cookies that one of my co-workers bakes every Christmas. They’re chewy and spicy and YUMMY!

  15. My favorite cookies are Buckeye balls. They are more of a confectionary ball but I love peanut butter and chocolate together

  16. Chocolate chip and oatmeal.

  17. peanut butter blossoms are my fav.

  18. I like chocolate crinkle cookies.

  19. My favorite is a family favorite, too: coconut krispies.

  20. choc chip…really anything that can be dipped in milk 🙂

  21. My favorite cookie is a snickerdoodle.

  22. My favorite cookie is still chocolate chip with oatmeal cookies!!

  23. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies!

  24. I love chocolate chip cookies!

  25. Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies are my favorite.

  26. Has to be chocolate chip. It’s a classic for a reason!

  27. Decorated sugar cookies. They taste great and they bring back so many good memories.

  28. I love chocolate chip cookies

  29. Sugar cookies with frosting, peanut buter no bakes (no cocoa), or oatmeal raisin. I love cookies!

  30. Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and just a tad undercooked so they literally melt when you pick them up! And of course ice cold milk!

  31. I love oatmeal raisin cookies but sugar cookies are fun to work with!

  32. Pingback: 24 Christmas Holiday Ideas | TidyMom

  33. Pound cake cookies that I’ve been making for about 25 years. Thanks for the chance.

  34. When I’m in a pinch I like to make simple cake mix cookies and add my twist to them. Simple recipe with only three items – cake mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil. Mix and drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degree oven for 5 – 7 minutes.

  35. I don’t have a favorite cookie…… as long as it does not have walnuts in it, I’ll love it 😉

  36. I would LOVE this cookbook! My fav cookies have to be oatmeal chocolate chip! YUM!

  37. I love snickerdoodles – warm and soft out of the oven. I used to make them with my Mom when I was very little. I make them with my kids now. They are a family favorite!

  38. Frosted Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip, etc. etc. etc. 🙂

  39. My favorite cookies are Snickerdoodles

  40. My favorite cookies are half moon cookies! My mom used to make them homemade all the time when we were little. Also love no bake cookies, chocloate, peanut butter and choc/peanut butter. my kids love them also. Cant have just one favorite, now can we? LOL 🙂

  41. Two ritz crackers with peanut butter sandwiched between, dipped in chocolate almond bark. Yum!

  42. Peanut Butter cookies are my absolute favorite!!

  43. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!

  44. I love warm homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies and Gooey Butter Cookies. Happy Holidays! 🙂

  45. Snickerdoodle!!

  46. White chocolate Macadamia Nut!

  47. My favorite cookies will always be soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm…and if they’re just out of the oven, a BONUS!

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