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Oprah's Favorite Things: Hope in a Jar

oprah's favorite thingsIt’s her last favorite things show ever, so this year, there was a round two of Oprah’s Favorite Things, revealed to a very surprised studio audience! One of the items on her list: Hope in a Jar, a commemorative, limited-edition moisturizer in a glittery red jar with a baby Oprah on the label to honor 25 years of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

If you can’t get your hands on some, why not make your own hope in a jar to give away this year to all your favorite people? Because the best things in life aren’t free, they’re edible. And during the season of giving and sharing, it’s a great for your kids to be able to make something by hand to share with the teachers, friends, coaches and other people in their lives.

What better to hope for this holiday season than time spent in the kitchen with someone you love, and a batch of warm cookies to share afterward? Layered cookie mix looks great in a glass jar, and makes a fun project for kids to assemble for friends and teachers. They’re easy to make ahead of time, giving yourself a head start on the holiday shopping season, and will save you a trip to the mall (and having to find a parking spot). Decorate each jar with a ribbon and a tag with baking instructions (below).

You can see the full list of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2010 here. And check out the audience’s reaction – they thought they had just missed out on Oprah’s favorite things!

Cookie Mix-in-a-Jar

1 1/3 cup (160 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup (80 mL) sugar
1/3 cup (80 mL) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Pour into the bottom of a 1 L glass jar and shake to settle it. Layer the rest of the ingredients on top in the order given. 

To prepare the mix: Combine the contents of the jar with 1/2 cup softened butter and a large egg, mixing just until blended. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350ËšF for 12-14 minutes, or until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Variation – Spiced Fruit & Nut Oatmeal Cookies: swap chopped dried apricots for the toffee bits and raisins for the chocolate chips; add a teaspoon of cinnamon along with the oats.

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