Recipes for layered “ In a jar” gifts abound on the internet but producing one that tastes as good as it looks is a bit of an art. I developed this recipe to fit a standard 3 ½ cup square Golden Harvest Mason Jar – available in supermarkets.

The ingredients need to be layered in the correct order or they will blend spoiling the appearance. Once packed firmly in order, they are quite stable, just remember to include the baking instructions!

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cocoa
½ cup white sugar
55 g – approx 5 small crushed candy canes
½ cup chocolate drops
An A4 sheet of plain paper
A dry artists paint brush for dusting inside the jar if needed
A sterilised 3 ½ cup mason jar with lid

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold the sheet of paper to form a cone and place it in the jar to funnel the ingredients into the jar, keeping the sides of the jar clean.

Place a folded tea towel on the bench to form a pad and tap the base of the jar on the pad repeatedly to compact the flour and level it, dust the inside of the jar with the brush if necessary. Use the paper funnel to add the brown sugar then, tap it to level it out then press it firmly with the back of a spoon to form a dense cap that will stop the flour “travelling”. Funnel the cocoa in and tap very gently as it is inclined to float. Carefully funnel in the white sugar, then add the crushed candy cane and top with the chocolate bits.

To the label add the following instructions.

Pre heat the oven to 180°

Beat 175g butter until light, add 1 egg, 1 egg yolk the contents of the jar and 2 tbsp hot water. Mix with a spoon, then your hands, to form a pliable dough. Roll into 2 cm balls and space out on a greased tray to allow for spreading. Bake for 12 -14 minutes then cool on the tray, the cookies will firm as they cool. Makes approx 30 cookies.