November 11, 2009

Bake up a thrifty gift.

It's day three of Thrifty Christmas here at the shorehouse.

I found these jars filled with apple crisp "supplies" at a craft show the other week. Pair it with a vintage cookbook you pick up on a thrifting venture and you've got a gift that will make the baker in your life squeal. In a good way!

The jar has everything needed for an apple crisp (except the apples, which would have been hard to jam in that jar. Oh, and the butter. Because that would be rancid.). A crisp is the perfect thing to prepackage since most of the ingredients just get mashed up with butter and you don't need to whisk, separate, sift, etc. Just throw it in a bowl. My kind of recipe.

This is an easy idea to replicate. Canning jars, or any jar with a tight seal, can be found on the cheap (they're available at many dollar stores, including Jack's 99 Cent Store in Manhattan) and the crisp ingredients are for the most part already in your pantry. The Neelys over on Food Network have a very good crisp recipe, click here to get that one. (The addition of pecans is well worth it, I promise you.) I have tons of fabric scraps, and I think I'd rather use a fun retro fabric than a Christmasy one...I may even go crazy and top-stitch it. And the recipe card is calling out for a funky font and some retro clip art.

Speaking of recipes...yesterday there was a comment from the lovely Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti asking about the recipe used for the brownies on my cake stand.

Good point! I actually love the recipe, and found it many years ago on a tin of cocoa powder. It's the shortbread crust that makes them super duper. So here it is...another suitable holiday foodie gift:

Brownies with Shortbread Crust

1-1/4 c. unsifted flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. cold butter
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 oz semi sweet chocolate broken into pieces (or chips)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans, or omit)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine 1 cup of flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto bottom of 13" x 9" baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl beat sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, egg and remaining 1/4 cup of flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir in chocolate pieces and nuts. Spread over prepared crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until center is set (so not overcook). Cool before cutting.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter for a couple of the ones above to dress the plate a little, but adding a dash of ginger to the cocoa and using a gingerbread man cutter would be fact I'm filing that idea away in my mental Rolodex.

Thrifty week ideas from the shorehouse:

Monday - Tie one on! Bags from vintage men's ties.
Tuesday - DIY cake stands.
Coming Thursday - Tea for two (that was supposed to be today...whoops.)
Coming Friday - Jeez, I better get working on that!


Beach House Living said...

Thanks for the brownie recipe. They look delicious

Liz@Violet Posy said...

That is a wonderful present! I'm going to make it for my best friend so she can make brownies with her kids :)

Purple Flowers said...

I love presents like the one pictured. A baked apple crisp can make everyone smile with glee!

Joyce said...

Another wonderful gift idea. You are on a role my friend. Thanks for the recpe too. xo

Tina said...

Girl, my sweet tooth is screaming for those goodies! Yummo

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Love the apple crisp idea! The brownie recipe looks delish too...and once again you have brought gift giving to a whole other level. Now, I can't wait to see what you do tomorrow!
♥, Susan

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

I think that would make a great gift!
:) Diane

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I am absolutely over the moon about yumminess in a jar. Love it! My neighbors will be so happy. :)

modernemama said...

Keep it going - I still have more gifts to give :)

Chari said...

Hi Laura...

I just read your sweet note that you left on my faux fireplace project...thank you so much for coming by and I really enjoyed reading your sweet comments!!! Also thank you for answering my question about "Goop" drying clear! That's exactly what I'm looking for...for doing glass projects! I'm going to look for some of it today when I go to town!

I'm so glad that you enjoyed my faux fireplace project...I've had a blast doing it! I'm soooo slow though...taking my time with the whole thing! If you would like to check back with my blog next Monday...I plan on posting more progress! You said that you have a mantle and was interested. Yes...I definitely think that painting behind the mantle black was an important step in my attempt to make the fireplace Look real! Since this post I have added a tile surround...and it made a HUGE difference to the look. That's what I will be posting about on stop in for a visit!

Anyway...sheesh, this is comment is going to look like a book by the time I finish! Hehe! but I really love your frugal gift idea of the Apple Crumb cake in the jar! What a grand idea...I know several people who would love getting a gift like that...including me! Thanks for sharing your creativity and talents with that idea! Also thank you for including the recipe for the shortbread brownies. That sounds sooo good and something different from your regular ol' brownie recipe! I'm going to give it a try!

Well my friend...I have added your delightful blog to my list of blog follows and look forward to your upcoming posts! I really like what I see here...

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Kwana said...

Thanks for the brownie recipe and how much do I love Jack's 99 cent store. I used to work down the street from there.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks Laura! This brownie recipe sounds pretty unique, and looks scrumptious!

I like gifts in a jar! When I met a blogger in California she gave me one with a cookie mix and it that was delicious.

My daughter works in midtown and whenever I meet her for lunch I always check out what's new for sale in Jacks Discount Stores :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Neat-o mosquito! This is a fun present, Laura. Thanks for the recipe.


Sheila :-)

Maureen said...

I bought a set of six antique Ball jars this summer. I have been trying to figure out what to do with them. Now, I have a plan. Thanks for the inspiration.