Image courtesy of "Desserts in Jars"

It is surely no surprise to any of my readers that I love jars. Anyone who cans as much as I do naturally builds up quite a collection of glass jars in different shapes and sizes. I love to scour thrifts stores for inexpensive vintage jars which come in handy for food storage and for making my Chicago Food Swap items look extra cute. Everywhere I go, I notice when people use jars as decorations and in home decor. I guess you could say I am slightly obsessed with jars.

So naturally, I was very excited to learn about a new cookbook by popular food blogger Shaina Olmanson called Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats That Shine. This book has — wait for it — fifty recipes for desserts that are either baked, prepared or presented in a jar. I am excited about this book for so many reasons. First, I love the idea of baking and serving desserts in individual glass jars. I have exactly one recipe for a Mexican chocolate cake that I bake in 8 oz. Ball jars, and my family and guests go wild for it. The presentation is utterly charming; the portion size is just right and clean-up is a breeze. So, I am very excited to try out Olmanson’s recipes and expand my repertoire for desserts baked in the jar. Olmanson also has terrific ideas for no-bake, frozen desserts that are served in a jar — perfect for summertime parties!

The other reason that I am so excited about this cookbook is because many of the recipes are ideal for gift-giving or, better yet, swapping. I am always looking for new and creative items to bring to the Chicago Food Swap and Desserts in Jars has a whole section on baking mixes in jars, which would be perfect to bring to a swap.

If you are local to the Chicago-area and would like to learn more about Desserts in Jars, there is a terrific book event this Saturday, July 13 hosted by the Woodlands Garden Club called “Desserts in Gardens.”  Husband and wife chefs Corey and Sara Grupe will demonstrate recipes from Desserts in Jars in the sublime setting of the Mariani Gardens. Your $25 ticket includes a self-guided tour of the gardens, a copy of the cookbook, the chance to watch the demonstration, and snacks and drinks. That’s a terrific deal! And a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Woodlands Garden Club. The chefs will be doing their demonstrations at 9:30 and 10:30 am. I will be there at 10:30 rain or shine — there will be tents if we need them, but let’s cross our fingers for good weather — so I hope to see some of you there! You can purchase your ticket here.

I know that at least one lucky West of the Loop reader will be there because I am giving away one ticket to “Desserts in Gardens”. To enter, leave a comment to this entry telling me if you have ever had a dessert served in a jar, and if so, what it was. You can earn an additional entry in the following ways:

  • Share this post on your Facebook wall
  • Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to the post using the hash tag #DessertsinJars

Entries must be received by noon on Thursday July 11. I will select one winner at random. Good luck and I hope to see many of you on Saturday.

Full disclosure time: I have been hired to help promote the event “Desserts in Gardens.” I have received a complimentary ticket to the event and compensation for my time. All opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

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Emily Paster

Emily Paster is a freelance writer and mother of two living in River Forest. She writes about food and parenting on her website, West of the Loop. Emily's print work appears frequently in Chicago Parent...