Edible gifts are my favorite way to show my loved ones that I care during the holidays. Food gifts are great because they are affordable to make, simple, delicious, and they DISAPPEAR! You never have to worry about a consumable gift ending up in your friend’s yard sale next summer.
From Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix to Limoncello to Chai Gift Sets to Barbecue Spice Rub, we’ve got you covered when it comes to food holiday gifts. And today we’re adding another one to the mix! These M&M Cookie Mix Jars are SO easy to make that my kindergartener can (and did) make them. They are super affordable, too—we’re talking just a few dollars worth of ingredients to make a thoughtful, beautiful gift. They are also really easy to make in bulk—grab a whole case of wide mouth quart jars, and you’ll have 12 edible Christmas gifts done in no time!
How do you make a cookie mix in a jar?
Cookie mix in a jar is made by layering all the dry ingredients you need for a cookie recipe (in this case, M&M Cookies) in a jar and including instructions for how to bake. Then, when it’s time to bake, you dump the mix into a bowl and add in the remaining wet ingredients. These cookies are so beautifully simple because the only ingredients that are needed to bake them is melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Easy!
What size jar should I use?
This cookie mix is sized to fit in wide mouth quart size mason jars. You could also use regular-mouth (it’s the same volume), but I found that it was a bit trickier to get the pretty layers when working with a regular mouth jar. You can use the metal lid and rings that come with the jars for closure, or you can use the wide-mouth plastic storage caps.
How long does cookie mix in a jar last?
Sealed up in a jar, these cookie mixes will easily last three months or more in the pantry. All the ingredients are shelf stable. You can get by even longer if you store the mix in the freezer—up to a year.
What makes these cookies chewy and delicious?
I’ve eaten cookies made from other cookie mixes, and while the mixes looked beautiful—the cookies themselves left something to be desired. Not here! We tested these cookies multiple times to make sure they were the perfect texture and the perfect flavor. Here’s what makes these cookies so awesome:
- A higher ratio of brown sugar: More brown sugar means more of a chewy, caramelized cookie. So we reduced the granulated sugar and upped the brown sugar.
- Adding in rolled oats: Old fashioned, or rolled, oats give these cookies a hefty chew that is super satisfying.
- Lots of butter: Soft, tender, chewy, rich cookies need lots of butter! Our instructions ask for an entire stick of melted butter to add into the cookie dough.
- A saltier cookie: We’ve tested a lot of cookie recipes from the Wholefully archives, and the best flavor comes from a slightly salty cookie. You’ll find these cookies pleasantly salted (think: salted caramel).
What are the best M&Ms to use for these cookie jars?
I personally prefer to use M&Ms Minis/Baking Bits (these are the same thing, it’s just Baking Bits are usually sold in bags with the chocolate chips in the baking aisle, and Minis are sold in the candy aisle). I like the smaller size because they distribute better and you get a delicious M&M in every bite. Starting after Halloween around here, I can grab holiday colored Baking Bits with the other holiday baking ingredients.
Regular or dark chocolate M&Ms work as well. I would not recommend any of the filled M&Ms (like peanut M&Ms), simply because they are too large and don’t distribute well in the cookies.
How do I package up a cookie mix in a jar for gifting?
Feel free to use your imagination to make your cookie jars your own, but here is exactly how we made ours:
- Follow the layer order listed in the recipe for nice, clean layers of ingredients.
- Close the jar with the lid.
- Cut an 8” circle of holiday fabric with pinking shears. Secure over the top of the jar lid with a thin rubber band.
- Wrap baker’s twine around to cover the rubber band. Add on one of our printable instruction tags, and then tie on.
How long will baked cookies keep?
Fresh-baked cookies are best in the first 24 hours after baking, but the cookies will keep just fine in an airtight food storage container at room temperature for up to a week (at that point, they start to get stale—although they’re still safe to eat). For longer-term storage, you can freeze flat and store in an airtight food storage container in the freezer for up to six months.
What other flavors can I add to my cookie mix in a jar?
This base cookie recipe is great for experimenting with other cookie flavors! Here are some options you might want to try:
- Peanut M&M Cookies: Add in 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts (peanut M&Ms are too large to distribute well in cookies, so this is a good way to get the flavor).
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip: Use 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips instead of the M&Ms.
- Peppermint Patty: Use 2/3 cup Andes baking chips instead of the M&Ms, and add in 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa to the layers.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: Use 1/3 cup mini peanut butter chips and 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips instead of the M&Ms.
- Mocha: Add two tablespoons espresso powder to the mix and use 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips instead of the M&Ms.