Gifts in Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More!

Gifts in Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More!

by Natalie Wise


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Learn to make dozens of unique gifts packaged perfectly in glass jars of various shapes and sizes. Do you have an aspiring gardener on your list? Make a “plant bomb” jar with your favorite flower seeds or an adorable terrarium featuring easy-to-grow air plants. Headed to a bridal shower? Pamper your friend with a manicure kit or mint mojito lip scrub. Who wouldn’t love some homemade sugar cookie mix or healthy and delicious granola in an attractive and reusable jar?

Glass jars are easy to come by, cute, and incredibly versatile. Fill them with customized treasures to delight anyone on your list. Projects include:

Light-Up Fairy Jar
Barbecue Rub
Hot Fudge Topping
Snowglobe Scenes
Vanilla Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub
Citronella Oil Lamp
Bird Feeder
And more!

Complete with tips for decorating jars, suggestions for gift tags, and inspiring full-color photographs, Gifts in Jars is here to make your holiday gift list a whole lot more fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510719743
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Pages: 132
Sales rank: 428,171
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Natalie Wise is a Dartmouth-educated poet, author, and style expert known as “Professional Sunshine.” She is all about pink lipstick, big sunglasses, her trademark #caffeinecrazy when she drinks coffee, and creating happy things for happy people. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Read an Excerpt



Coffee Syrups

Coffee syrups are a cinch to make at home and the colors are so pretty in glass jars. Coffee syrups make great hostess gifts, especially if you include a package of coffee. Or set them out at your own party and make a coffee bar, then give away tiny jars as favors. The syrups work in both cold and hot coffee, which is part of their appeal. Don't forget to mix and match. Chocolate-raspberry? Tastes like dessert. Raspberry-coconut? A tropical vacation.

Each recipe makes: approx. 2 cups

Jar size in photo: 1 pint

Chocolate Syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2–3 minutes, until smooth, and remove from heat. Funnel into jar. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Coconut Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Funnel into jars. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Raspberry Syrup

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Mash the raspberries using a metal potato masher or the back of a spoon. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and pulp. Funnel into your jars and let cool. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Tag Instructions: Stir 2–4 tablespoons into your coffee beverage of choice. Keep syrup in refrigerator.

Best-Ever Barbecue Rub

This barbecue rub is sure to become an oft-requested gift, particularly by the grill masters in your life. This recipe makes the perfect amount to fill two small shaker jars, the ideal size for keeping by the grill or stove. Look for jars with the holes in a star shape instead of "S" and "P" for salt and pepper. The stars allow a generous flow of rub. There should be enough left over for your own dinner tonight ... try it on chicken, ribs, or pork.

Makes: Just over 1 cup

Jar size in photo: 4 ounces

Mix well in a small bowl, then funnel into your storage jars. If you live in a humid place, store shakers in a resealable bag to keep moisture out.

Iced Tea Jar

This is such a fun hostess gift for any summer barbecue. But these teas are also just as enjoyable hot and can be given any time of year. The debate between sweetened and unsweetened tea is long-standing, so I suggest filling the bottom of the jar with individual sugar packets to let everyone choose their level of sweetness. Look for the tea and dried flowers in the bulk section of your local grocery or health food store.

Makes: 1 gift jar

Jar size in photo: ½ gallon

Cut 4 squares of the cheesecloth about 6 inches square. In the center of each square, place ¼ cup of orange pekoe tea and ¼ cup hibiscus flowers. Gather the corners and tie with twine. Set aside. Place the sugar packets on the bottom of the jar and layer the fruit on top. Gather the straws and place them down the height of the jar on one side. Gently place the 4 tea bags you've created on top. Close the lid and tie a cute spatula around the mouth of the jar.


Lemon Mint: 1 cup lemon balm, 1 cup spearmint leaves (add lemons and limes to jar)

Earl Gray-Lavender: 1 cup earl gray tea, ¼ cup dried lavender (add lemons and a small jar of honey)

Tag Instructions: To cold brew: Slice the fruit and add back to the jar. Place 1 tea bag in the jar and fill with cold water. Stir. Close the lid and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Serve over ice with sugar, if desired, and straws. Can also be brewed and served hot.

Hot Fudge Topping

My friend who owns an ice cream parlor declared this hot fudge topping "Spectacular!" and asked if she could trade me a jar for an ice cream sundae. Then she asked me to make it and sell it in her shop. Success! This recipe makes two jars, one for keeping and one for giving (or two for giving if you're feeling generous).

Makes: approx. 4 cups

Jar size in photo: 12 ounces

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, chocolate, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into jars and let cool. Will keep refrigerated for several weeks, but I doubt it will last that long.

Tag Instructions: Store in refrigerator. Before eating: warm desired amount in microwave or double boiler.

Blueberry Refrigerator Jam

This is an excellent jam for beginners because it doesn't require processing in a hot water bath. Since the recipe makes a small batch and is kept in the refrigerator, there's no need for an actual seal that will last for years. You and your friends will definitely gobble this up long before it goes bad. You will want to boil the clean jars for 5 minutes, though, for safety's sake. A jar lifter (a specialized canning tool), will be enormously helpful for getting the jars out of the hot water, but tongs used carefully will suffice.

Makes: 1½ pints

Jar size in photo: 12 ounces

In a large saucepan, place your two pint jars, lids, and rings, and fill with water. Set on a back burner. In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries and sugar. Turn on the heat to medium and use a metal potato masher or the back of a spoon to mash the blueberries well. Cook until gently boiling. Stir constantly or the jam will burn. Be careful because happy bubbling jam is hot and will splatter. Stir for at least 30–45 minutes, until thick and the spoon faces resistance as you try to stir. When you get to the last 10 minutes, bring the large saucepan with the jars and lids to a boil. When your jam is ready, remove it from heat. Carefully remove the jars one at a time and place on a heatproof surface. Remember not to touch the jars as they are hot. Ladle the jam into the jars. Let cool on the counter for several hours, then cover and refrigerate. Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator.

Tag Instructions: Store in refrigerator.

Monster Brownie Mix

These brownies are perfect to keep on hand when a craving hits. There's hardly anything to making them, and in minutes you'll have a gooey, peanut-buttery, chocolatey, nutty treat warm from the oven. These are a take-off on the classic Monster cookie, which has every tasty treat packed in it. It's a lucky friend who receives this pretty — and yummy — brownie mix.

Makes: 1 mix for a 9x9-inch pan of brownies

Jar size in photo: 1 quart

Layer the ingredients in the jar in the order listed. At the end, toss the nuts with the additional 2 tablespoons of flour so they won't sink to the bottom of the brownies when mixed. Close tightly and decorate jar with ribbons and the initials of the recipient, if desired.

Tag Instructions: Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and stir. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Mix

It's tough to find a sugar cookie mix that works well for rolling out shapes. This one fits the bill and makes a perfect holiday gift. The resulting cookies are only slightly sweet, a pleasant base for plenty of icing and decorations. Attaching a cookie cutter to the jar is particularly fun. For kids, add dinosaurs or flowers. For adults, unique shapes such as the Mason jar pictured are a great addition to their cookie cutter collection.

Makes: 1 mix for about 1½–2 dozen cookies, depending on size

Jar size in photo: 24 ounces

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and funnel into the jar.

Tag Instructions: Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) butter with 1 egg and 1 tablespoon vanilla until smooth. Slowly add in the cookie mix until it comes together. Refrigerate dough at least 15 minutes. Roll and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 8–10 minutes, until just golden around the edges.

Soup Mixes

Soup jars make such a good holiday gift for anyone in your life. Not only are they pretty, they're sure to be appreciated on a cold winter's night when soup sounds just right, but something quick and easy is needed. Buy your ingredients in the bulk section and use a funnel to make creating these gifts even simpler.

Lentil-Curry Soup Mix

Makes: 1 jar, 4–6 servings

Jar size in photo: 1 pint

Layer the ingredients in the order given, placing the freeze- dried apple slices on top just under the lid.

Tag Instructions: Empty mix into soup pot and add 3 jars full (6 cups) of water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Chicken Soup Mix

Makes: 1 jar, serves 8–10

Jar size in photo: 1 quart

Layer the seasonings on the bottom of the jar, and then fill with noodles.

Tag Instructions: Bring 8–10 cups of water to a boil. Add contents of jar. Simmer for 20–30 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Add cooked chicken if desired.

5-Bean Soup Mix

Makes: 1 jar, serves 10–12

Jar size in photo: 1 quart

Tag Instructions: Add soup mix, 8 cups of water, and 1 (15-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes to a large pot. Simmer for at least 1½ hours, until beans are tender.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Hot chocolate mix is a coveted item around the holidays, especially a homemade, luxurious one that's rich in cocoa powder and chocolate. Using milk powder in the mixture allows the recipient to just add water to create this creamy cocoa. Top the mixture with plenty of marshmallows, and perhaps even tie a small bottle of festive sprinkles around the lid. A vintage Santa ornament will work, too, to complete the gift and presentation.

Makes: 1 jar, 12 servings

Jar size in photo: 1 quart

Combine the cocoa, sugar, powdered milk, and salt. Mix well and funnel into jar. Layer the miniature chocolate chips and miniature marshmallows on top.

Tag Instructions: Mix 1/3 cup hot chocolate mix into 1 cup boiling water. Stir well.

Spiced Granola with Nuts, Coconut, and Chocolate

Crunchy, hearty granola with yogurt and fruit is my go-to breakfast every morning. This flavorful granola also makes a great snack by the handful. Use any type of coconut you have on hand ... thick strips, angel flaked, or unsweetened flakes. Any nuts you happen to have will work here; I used cashews for this batch, but almonds, pecans, and walnuts also work well. Regular chocolate chips will work, too, but the miniature ones are just the right size for the oats and ground nuts and are a fun surprise. Don't add them too soon after taking the granola out of the oven, or they'll all melt. This recipe perfectly fills a ½-gallon jar or 2 quarts, with just enough left over for your breakfast!

Makes: 8 cups

Jar size in photo: ½ gallon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet or two (depending on their size) with parchment paper. Place the oats in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix well. In a separate small bowl, mix the vegetable oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger well. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well to coat all of the oats. Stir in the coconut and nuts, reserving the chocolate chips. Pour onto the lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for a total of about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 and rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time. Let cool. When mostly cool, stir in the chocolate chips. Stays fresh in an airtight container for several weeks.


Bath and Body

Vanilla Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub

Makes: 2 cups

Jar size in photo: 8 ounces

Mix ingredients until very thoroughly mixed. Pack into jars. Keep the lids on tightly as the scrub tends to dry out and may need a good stir now and then. Will keep for several weeks.

Tag Instructions: Rub vigorously on hands to exfoliate. Rinse well.

Coffee Lover's Body Scrub

Coffee has long been known for its cellulite-reducing properties when applied topically. I can't promise any magic cures, but at the least this body scrub will wake you up in the morning with its pleasant aroma. This makes a great gift for any coffee-lover in your life. Other coffee scrubs can be drain-clogging, but this one doesn't have enough coffee to cause a problem, so don't worry.

Makes: approx. 2 cups

Jar size in photo: 8 ounces

Mix all ingredients together well. Pack into jars.

Tag Instructions: Massage all over body in shower. Let sit for a few minutes before rinsing well.

Mojito Lip and Face Scrub

This face and lip scrub is a lovely addition to any spa night or daily routine. The scent is invigorating and refreshing. Your skin and lips will be chap-free and smooth as can be. There is no oil in this recipe, so it won't clog your pores or separate. Just use a teaspoon or so in the palm of your hand with a little bit of water.

Makes: approx. 1½ cups

Jar size in photo: 4 ounces

Whir the sugar and salt in a food processor until they are very fine. Add the lime zest and mint. Pack into jars.

Tag Instructions: Place a small amount of scrub in your palm, add a bit of water, and massage onto lips and face to exfoliate.


Excerpted from "Gifts in Jars"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Natalie Wise.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Gifts in Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
NatoshaM More than 1 year ago
The book, Gifts in Jars by Natalie Wise is such a wonderful project book! I love the interesting and exciting uses of jars, taking a simple glass jar turned into something even better! From creating my own BBQ Rub, Hot Fudge Topping, Snowglobe, and even a Bird Feeder, there are so many things to be made and great gifting ideas! I always like to save those sauce jars, nut butter jars, and many others for reuse. Though sometimes I have so many extras I don't know what else to do with them. However, this book gives me so many wonderful gift ideas I could create and even home ideas for myself or a friend/family member. I love the recipe creations, simple and such a nice home treat for anyone. Especially the hot fudge, which everyone I know loves fudge on their sundaes and homemade makes it just sweeter! The other creation like the Vanilla Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub sounds like a dreamy smelling scrub for removing dead skin and having youthful hands. Plus, so simple to create with the directions inside. I also love the visual image of the real creation in the photo. I think anyone who loves reusing jars and creating new natural and fun delicious treats, would really enjoy this book! I know I have already a few recipes and creations I so want to try out!☺