Trail mix

Photo: Thinkstock

1. Trail Mix Their Way
As long as there's plenty of chocolate (is it just us, or does everyone always eat the M&M's first?), you can't screw up trail mix. But personalizing the jar for each recipient makes it special. A yoga mat-toting niece will appreciate that you tracked down goji berries, soy nuts and chia seeds; a sister who's planning an island vacation for February can get a taste of the tropics with macadamia nuts, dried pineapple and shredded coconut. We like this 34-ounce, hermetic glass storage jar; it costs less than $5 and will work for almost any homemade gift.
Oatmeal raisin cookies

Photo: Tara Striano

2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Your Way
Here's the perfect starter recipe for this classic treat; it results in cookies with a thick, oaty chew. The best part, though, is that it's open to interpretation. As you layer the dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats—try swapping dried cherries or cranberries for the raisins. Or keep the raisins—just make them of the chocolate-covered variety. White chocolate chips are an unexpected twist, as are toasted almonds or toffee bits. After you pour each new ingredient into the jar, spread it around with a spoon (or ask a small person to use their hand). This silicone spoonula makes a nice add-on; it's not too big to handle, but is strong enough to stir the chunkiest cookie dough.
Pizza popcorn

Photo: Lara Robby/Studio D.

3. Happy Hour Pizza Popcorn
Chef Cat Cora figured out a way to combine two foods everyone loves. Here's how to share it as a gift: Pour popcorn kernels into a jar, leaving room for a 3-ounce pouch of these julienned sun-dried tomatoes, and a couple of these packets of organic oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Tie this recipe to the jar so recipients know they'll also need grated Parmesan.

4. Brownies So Good, You'll Be Getting a Phone Call
These dark chocolate brownies are spiced with ancho chili and fresh ginger root. There aren't a ton of dry ingredients (that's why they're so moist), so pick a short jar to layer the flour, salt, cocoa powder, chili powder and cinnamon—and go with high-quality chocolate and chili. As a finishing touch, tie a knob of ginger to the bow on top.

Photo: Thinkstock

5. Cornbread—with the Best Cornmeal You Can Buy
Behind every good cornbread is a quality, stone-ground cornmeal (such as this one), which has a coarse, sandy texture that ensures the bread will have just the right crumb but won't be falling apart. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the jar and then tie a beautiful wooden spoon (like Le Creuset's Silicone Spatula Spoon, which comes in an array of gorgeous colors) and this recipe to it with gingham ribbon.

Photo: Thinkstock

6. Breakfast in a Jar
Get your friend or family member going in the morning with a power breakfast made by you. For every two inches of rolled oats, sprinkle in a handful of dried fruits and nuts. Or fill the jar two-thirds with oats and stick a few 1.5-ounce squeeze packs of Justin's Maple Almond Butter or Chocolate Hazelnut Butter inside. It's decadent swirled in to cooked oatmeal—jelly optional.
Loose tea in a jar

Photo: Thinkstock

7. Fancy a Jar of Tea?
Floral, herbal teas are perfect for gifting in a jar since they're often colorful and comprised of different-size elements. Try Village Tea Company's sweet, spicy Gentle Organic Lemon Ginger or Cherry Me Bloom teas; they're both suited to cooler temperatures and have ingredients that can fight common winter colds. Fill a short jar with a few ounces of tea and then tie a tea ball and enamel copper spoon to the top.

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