All of the make-ahead gifts that follow may be kept in a cool place for six months and longer without any problem.

Unless instructed differently, use wide-mouth quart-size jars with the following recipes. Of course you’ll want to come up with an attractive way to finish off your jar gifts. The easiest embellishment is a 7-inch circle of fabric tied with ribbon to the top of the closed jar. Add a personalized tag with instructions for how to use the contents and you’re done.

Brownies in a Jar
Yield: One Quart Jar
You will need these ingredients:
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/8 cup flour, divided
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

This is the way you will layer the ingredients. Pack each layer tightly, for a spectacular presentation.

3/4 tsp salt
5/8 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Add a tag with these instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking pan. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix well. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs. Beat until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Snickerdoodles in a Jar
Yields: One Quart Jar

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk then place into one quart canning jar.

Add a tag with these instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 2 eggs. Pour in contents of jar and stir until a dough forms. Make 1-inch balls, roll them in a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies should be slightly brown. Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Cinnamon Pancakes in a Jar
Yield: One Quart Jar

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/4 tblsp white sugar
2 tblsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt

In a quart jar combine all ingredients in layers, placing flour on the bottom, then cinnamon in the middle and other ingredients on top.

Attach lid tightly and add this tag:
Cinnamon Pancakes
Dump contents of jar into a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Measure out 1 1/3 cup of the mix and set aside. Return the balance of mix to the jar for future use. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup milk, 1 egg and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add mix. Whisk until moistened but still lumpy. Make pancakes as usual.

Easiest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies in A Jar
Yield: One Quart Jar

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Combine the flour, baking soda, white sugar, and the chocolate chips. Place 1/2 of the mixture in a clean wide-mouth quart sized glass jar, and pack firmly. Place the brown sugar on top, again packing firmly. Finish with the remaining flour mixture on top.

Apply the lid and attach this tag:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Empty contents of jar into a large bowl. In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add to dry mixture. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Herbed Rice Mix in a Jar
Yield: Five Pint Jars

1 3-pound bag long grain rice
2 cups dried celery flakes
2/3 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
2 tblsp dried chives
1 tblsp dried tarragon
3 to 4 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
In a large bowl, mix all of these ingredients together. Place two cups into each pint jar.

Apply lids and this tag:
Herbed Rice
To prepare one serving: In a saucepan over medium heat bring 2/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil. Add 1/4 cup rice mixture. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Multiplies well.

Country Soup in a Jar
Yield: One Quart Jar

1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup dry lentils
2 tblsp dried minced onion
2 tblsp dried parsley
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tblsp beef bouillon granules
1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
1 cup uncooked twist macaroni

In a wide mouth one-quart jar, layer the barley, peas, rice and lentils. Then layer around the edges the onion, parsley, salt, lemon pepper, bouillon and the alphabet pasta. Fill the rest of the jar with the twist macaroni.

Seal and attach a gift tag that reads:
Country Soup
Add contents of jar to 3 quarts water,
2 stalks celery chopped, 2 sliced carrots,
1 cup shredded cabbage (optional)
and 2 cups diced tomatoes. Cover and simmer over medium low heat, until vegetables are tender.

Corn Bread in a Bag

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Sift together all ingredients and transfer to a plastic bag.

Add this tag:
Corn Bread
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dump contents of bag in a bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 cup milk and 4 tablespoons softened shortening. Beat until smooth (about 1 minute with egg beater). Pour batter into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted at the center comes out clean.

Good idea: Country Soup in a Jar and Corn Bread in a Bag would be perfect together in a special gift basket.

Candy Cane Bath Salts in a Jar
Yield: 12 Jars

12 tall jelly (12-ounce) canning jars with lids and rings
2 4-pound containers Epsom salts
4 pounds sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 tsp glycerin, divided (non-edible drugstore variety)
12 to 15 drops peppermint essential oil
12 to 15 drops red food coloring

Empty one carton Epsom salts into a large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups salt, stir well. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon glycerin and 6 to 8 drops essential oil. Mix well.

In a second large mixing bowl, empty one carton Epsom salts, and add 3 cups salt. Stir well. Add 1/4 teaspoon glycerin, 6 to 8 drops essential oil, and food coloring. Stir until completely blended. Color should be even.

Holding a canning jar at an angle, layer salts in jars, alternating white and red mixtures to resemble the stripes in a candy cane. Fill to the very top so that layers will not shift once you apply the lid.

Attach a tag with instructions:
Candy Cane Bath Salts
Add 1/2 cup Bath Salts for a luxurious, relaxing bath. Enjoy!

This recipe makes a dozen 12-ounce gift jars, plus a bonus of 3 to 4 cups extra bath salts. You can either make up a few more jars, or package the balance in small plastic bags for easy stocking stuffers.

Variation: Substitute peach essential oil and orange food coloring to make Peaches and Cream Bath Salts.