(Original story published on Friday August 8th, 2014, on FoodNetwork.ca.)
Salty dishes and comfort food are great, but desserts? Desserts, I adore. The way I feel about cakes, ice creams, pies, and cookies is how Don Draper feels about his Lucky Strikes cigs. Pretty much impossible to go through the day without, and pretty rare not to see one in my hand.
However, unlike Lucky Stripes, desserts don’t come in secure little packaging, ready to be taken wherever you go. Until now that is.
I’m highlighting the best, tastiest, must-try desserts that can be made in a simple mason jar. It’s the perfect (read: essential) companion for any picnic. Just picture it: sitting on a blanket, under a tree, with your own individualized, mess-free dessert in hand. Now, that’s heaven.
Below, you’ll find eight easy recipes to make your own mason jar desserts. And you really should be making your own because I’m not sharing.
One: Banana Pudding from Lets Dish Recipes
What to do: Crush up ¼ bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Make the filling found in this recipe and scoop some on top of the crushed cookies. Then, add whipped cream, banana slices, more filling, more whipped cream, and then top with banana slices.
Two: Cheesecake from I Am Baker
What to Do: Make the crust and cheesecake from this recipe, but be sure to bake them separately. Crush up the crust and place into the mason jar as the first layer, and then do the same with the cheesecake. Cook strawberries and a few teaspoons of sugar over the stove (about 2 strawberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving), let cool, and then scoop onto the cheesecake.
Three: Birthday Cake from Babble
What to Do: Using this classic vanilla birthday cake recipe and vanilla buttercream icing recipe, whip up a batch of each, adding sprinkles to the batter and dye to the icing (if preferred). Crumble up the cake, use one scoop for the first layer of the mason jar cake, add icing, then add more crumbled cake and more icing, and top with a couple of candles.
Four: S’Mores from How Sweet It Is
What to Do: Crumble up graham cracker and make a batch of this chocolate cake and crumble. Put the cracker pieces in the mason jar for the first layer, the chocolate cake for the second, and put a few large mashmallows on a baking sheet, broil them for a couple minutes until golden, then carefully push them down in the mason jar to top off the s’mores dessert.
Five: Butterfinger Pie from Crumbs and Chaos
What to Do: Whip up a batch of this cheesecake crust, and the follow Crumb and Chaos’ recipe for the filling. Layer the crumbled crust then the peanut butter filling into a mason jar, then top with whipped cream and a piece of Butterfinger.
Six: Eclairs in a Jar from Me and My Pink Mixer
What to Do: Crush up one quarter bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Scoop in French vanilla pudding, and top with this chocolate frosting and a few sliced almonds.
Seven: Lemon Meringue Pie from It All Started with Paint
What to Do: Start with this cheesecake crust crumbled at the base of the mason jar. The more experienced bakers can go ahead and cook and crumble the lemon curd filling and meringue from our famous recipe, but the rest of us (Aye!) can simply follow the instructions on the “Cook & Serve” box of Jell-O.
Eight: Apple Pie from Eat Boutique
What to Do: Make this “Blue Ribbon” apple pie crust and filling, baking and crumbling separately. First put the crumbled crust into the jar, followed by the apple filling, then sprinkle lightly with more pie crust.