Bottoms Up! 5 Recipes for Desserts in a Jar
For many, cooking and baking are art forms. The idea is that pretty food tastes better, and presentation is everything. Whether you like to look at your food, take pictures of it, or just eat it, it’s hard to resist good-looking dinners and desserts, and when the latter is served in a jar, you’re a goner. Desserts in a jar are too easy to like and too hard to turn down, but luckily, they have built-in portion control.
Case in point: Desserts in a jar are in, and at a time when hipsters and non-hipsters alike are doing anything they can to eat, drink, and garden out of any mason jars they can get their hands on, it’s high time you perfect a basic dessert-in-a-jar recipe. Here are five examples. Take your pick — just make sure you get some mason jars and get your bake on.
1. Peanut Butter Pie in a Jar
Ready, set, go: Peanut Butter Pie in a Jar is up first. Thanks to Life in Recipes, we have the formula for the perfect mix of chocolate wafers, peanut butter, chocolate chips, mascarpone cream, and heavy whipping cream, all packed in one jar. Peanut butter lovers unite, because this dessert is perfect for both the eye and the stomach.
- 8 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
- 4 ounces butter, melted
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Directions: Place the cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to create crumbs. Turn the food processor on and pour the melted butter through the feed tube. Spoon three heaping teaspoons of the crumb mixture into 4-ounce mason jars — there should be enough crumbs to do 12 small jars. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the jar with your thumb. Refrigerate to set.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Once crust has set, spoon a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each jar and sprinkle chopped peanuts on top. Refrigerate to set. Combine the peanut butter and mascarpone cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high to combine. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Stir in half the whipped cream, just to loosen the peanut butter mixture. Carefully fold in the remaining cream, creating a mousse-like filling.
Place the filling in a zip-top bag fitted with a 1-inch star piping tip. Pipe the mousse into the mason jars. Sprinkle with chocolate chips to garnish.
2. Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar
We hope you’re still hungry, because Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar is next, and this is not a recipe to be missed. Their bright color, velvety flavor, and cream cheese frosting make red velvet cupcakes a favorite for many, but when served in a jar, they really steal the show. This sweet treat from My Baking Addiction is made by layering slices of cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and the technique guarantees that with each spoonful, eaters get a balanced taste the best parts of the sweet treat. We bet you’ve never eaten a cupcake with a spoon before, but after this recipe, you may never go back.
For the cupcakes
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 3/4 cups), sifted
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 cupcake wells with paper liners or spray pan with spray with nonstick cooking spray. Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine oil and sugar until well-blended. Add egg and mix until combined.
Turn your mixer down to the lowest speed and add vanilla, then slowly add in the food coloring. Note: If you are using liquid food coloring, it will take about 2 tablespoons of coloring to get a dark red shade. Add the dye slowly and color according to your preference.
Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches; scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar, and add to batter with the machine running. Beat for about 10 seconds.
Using a medium scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter between the 12 wells, filling each well about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake.
For the cream cheese frosting: In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until well-combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
To assemble in jars: Slice cupcakes horizontally to create layers. Each cupcake will yield 2-3 layers depending on how thick you want your layers to be. Place one cupcake layer into the bottom of your jar, pipe a layer of cream cheese frosting directly onto the cake layer. Repeat the layering process until you reach the top of your jar. If desired, garnish with festive sprinkles or red velvet cake crumbs.
3. Monkey Bread in a Jar
Shaking things up a bit, you can also serve a favorite yeast bread in a jar. Say hello to monkey bread. It’s hard to keep your paws off this sticky sweet treat, but at least when you put it in a jar, you’ll have to practice some moderation. Take a page from Eat Live Run’s book — next time you bake up some monkey bread, stuff it in a jar. The buttery, cinnamon-laden delicacy has never tasted or looked so good.
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk, heated to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1/3 cup water, heated to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package dry active yeast
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine the warm milk, water, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Be sure here that your water and milk are not too hot (temperature should feel like warm bath water). Liquid that is too hot will kill the yeast! Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, and cardamom together in another bowl. After five minutes, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium-high speed using a dough hook attachment for about eight minutes, or until dough becomes a smooth ball. Alternately, you can do this by hand. Just keep kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place your dough ball inside. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise for about an hour. You want the ball to double in size.
After the initial rise, roll out dough to a large rectangle. Using a kitchen scissors, cut 1-inch squares of dough out of the rectangle. Melt four tablespoons of the butter and use it to grease eight 8-ounce glass jars (or four 12-ounce mason jars). Melt the remaining butter and pour it into a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Dunk each square of dough in the melted butter and then into the brown sugar. Drop it into a greased glass jar. Fill each jar only halfway full then set the jars in a warm spot to rise for another 50 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place jars on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 25 minutes, or until dough has cooked through. Serve warm!
4. S’mores Cake in a Jar
Back to the land of desserts — since monkey bread is quite obviously a snack – we come to How Sweet Eats’s S’mores in a Jar. Yep, gone there, about to eat that. Sure, it’s not quite summer, but for marshmallow lovers, it’s s’more season all year round, and that’s why it’s time for you to get your graham cracker-marshmallow-chocolate all-in-one jar on. You’d be crazy not to serve this dessert to your loved ones or that one eater you’re really trying to impress. Unscrew that mason jar, get your oven broiler on, and have at it.
- 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 bag of large marshmallows
Directions: In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to mason jars one scoop at a time. You only want to fill them up about halfway, and the batter should work evenly for 4 jars. Again, don’t worry if it isn’y perfect. Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set.
Remove cake from the oven and press large marshmallows down on top, being careful not to burn yourself. There is no set number of marshmallows to use. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not take your eyes off them! Serve immediately.
5. Blackberry Crisp in a Jar
Last up, an ode to the season that is (hopefully) approaching. Even if the berries aren’t fully ripe yet, stash this recipe from This Gal Cooks away in your summer dessert arsenal. We promise that after you take it out once, you’ll take it out time and time again, as BlackBerry Crisp in a Jar is the perfect dessert for summer entertaining and indulging. Bottoms up!
For the crisp topping
- 5 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar
For the blackberry filling
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions: Combine the blackberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cornstarch in large pot over medium heat. Mash the blackberries as they are cooking. Cook until the mixture has thickened and is bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the vegan butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Fill 4 half-pint mason jars 1/3 full with the blackberry mixture. Add a layer of the crumb mixture. Then add more berries up to the beginning of the rim of the jar. Add the remaining topping to each jar. Place the jars on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until the blackberry mixture is bubbly and the crumb topping is golden.
Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. They will be very hot.