For the Bakesale for Japan last weekend I made something I decided to call Jars of Stars. These are simply very small star shaped cookies presented in jars. I think stuff in jars for a bakesale are fantastic, jars are visually interesting and useful for future uses. And you can charge a bit more than you might think, a good thing when the money is being raised for a great cause. I’ve previously made cobbler in jars, pudding in jars and pies in jars. Cake and cupcakes in jars are also perfect, especially if sold with a bamboo fork or spork attached.
This time I was inspired by these tiny heart cookies which I spied first on Oh Happy Day. I used this Pepperkaker recipe at Dabbler because I knew it would come out crunchy and strong enough to be piled together. I did find myself wishing it was a bit spicier, I might add more black pepper next time. One note: that recipe makes a huge amount, I had to halve all the ingredients to a batch into my Kitchenaid mixer. I switched to the dough hook after the first addition of flour because the dough does get very stiff.
I ran out of time so my very awesome husband Scott made the labels (thanks, you’re the best!). We printed them out onto cardstock and cut circles to fit between the pieces of the lid. The back side of the cardstock holds the ingredients list.
I made four small sizes of stars. I had to draw cookie cutters from a few sources to get the small sizes. The smallest on is from a set of aspic cutters (the smallest sized set), the next size up is actually from a Linzer cookie set, and the two largerst were from a many stars set. All the cutters I used were from Fox Run as I found I liked the nice sharp angles on those the best. I bought all mine from Home Cake Decorating Supply here in Seattle who always has just what I’m looking for.
This is the size one larger than the tiniest, for scale.
I cut them out and then popped them out from the cutter using the blunt end of a chopstick. No matter what I tried, flouring, oiling, chilling the dough or the cutters, they all needed to be popped back out. It took a while but with some WTF podcasts it went quickly. The cookies don’t spread, but they do puff enough when baked to get rid of any marks left by poking them back out of the cookie cutters.
I added non perils to a few batches of the smaller stars. I love non perils. They made the jar look a bit more interesting and didn’t add a lot of work for me.
We filled the jars carefully so each one would get a good mix and that was it. If you keep the cardboard box that canning jars come in they make perfect carriers to deliver to the bake sale. I wish I had used jars with smooth sides, it would have been easier to view the star shapes inside.
I think it was a success, I sold three jars before I managed to get them set up on the tables! At the time I’m writing this the Bakesale for Japan is still adding up the total but it’s looking like the nationwide effort may have made more than $125K, wow. Thanks to Ciao Samin for getting the whole thing together and thanks to everybody who organized and came to the Seattle bakesale!