#Cookbook Review: Desserts in Jars

Is it just me, or does food look more inviting served up in a little jar?  Did you know there is a cookbook devoted to these sweet treats?  Packed with fifty recipes and fifty fabulous photos,Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine
by Shaina Olmanson has got something for every season and every occasion.  Poppy Seed Cake in a JarI had so much fun looking through this book.  The photos are spectacular.  Even though I feel fairly confident that I can read a recipe and know if it will turn out well or not,  a well styled, full color photo right next to it never hurts.

Desserts in Jars starts out with great tips on choosing  jars, filling them, baking with them, freezing them and decorating or styling the finished product.  The rest of the book is divided into six chapters: Cakes and cupcakes, Pies and pastries, Custards, and puddings, Fruit desserts, Frozen desserts and, finally, Mixes for giving.  There are seasonal desserts that contain fresh fruit and others that can be made any time of the year.Poppy Seed Cakes in JarsI had a hard time choosing what to make first.  I was torn between Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Gingersnap Crust, Banana Buttermilk Trifles, Cardamom Pear Crisps, White Chocolate Lime Puddings and these Almond Poppy Seed Cakes.  In the end, the cakes won.  My family has always been a fan of those giant poppy seed muffins sold by Costco.  I was hoping that these little cakes would be a close match.  I was not disappointed.

I halved the recipe, which originally made 12 jars.  I knew where six jars were and didn’t feel like digging through boxes to find another half dozen.  The only other change I made was to substitute a whole egg for two egg yolks.  My cakes did not rise as high as those in Shaina’s photograph, but they were still delicious.

I am looking making more dishes from this book.  The gift mixes in the last chapter will make great Christmas gifts for neighbors.  This book, itself, would make a great gift in a basket filled with empty jars, lids, ribbons and labels.  How fun would that be?!

Poppy Seed Cakes in Jars
  • 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  1. In a small bowl, cover poppy seeds with boiling water.
  2. Let sit for 1 hour to absorb, stirring after 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully grease twelve 8 ounce jars.
  4. Combine flour, cornstarch and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  6. Slightly beat the eggs and egg yolks in a separate bowl.
  7. Alternately add the eggs and dry ingredients.
  8. Stir in the flavorings and poppy seeds.
  9. Fill each jar half full and top with a sprinkling of sliced almonds.
  10. Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until they test done with a toothpick.
  11. Cool on the baking sheet.

note: I received this cookbook at no cost, but all opinions in this review are my own.

8 thoughts on “#Cookbook Review: Desserts in Jars

  1. I agree with you – desserts in jars is just way more fun to serve and eat out of. Plus if you don’t finish it all you can just screw a lid on it and store neatly in the frig. Also if you’re traveling to another location they’re so easy to pack and store.

    Great idea for a book. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have to keep a stash of poppy seed muffins in the freezer for Katie…but I think she’d love these cuties in the jars even more than the grocery store version! I have this cookbook but need to pull it out again for the holidays 🙂

  3. Poppy seed cake reminds me fondly of my coffee shop days! And cardamom pear crisps?? Gotta have it! I’ve never made a dessert in a jar but maybe I should start since I have lots of jars and I want a bite of your poppy seed cake!

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