Not Martha

Jars of Stars for the Bakesale for Japan

star shaped cookies in a jar

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.

a view into the jar, photo taken by Kairu Yao and used with permission

Image above taken by the wonderful Kairu Yao and used with permission, thanks! You can see all of her bakesale photos here.

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.

view of the labels

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.

four sizes, from half an inch to an inch and a half tall

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.

my hand holding a very small star

This is the size one larger than the tiniest, for scale.

tiny stars being cut out of thin rolled out gingerbread

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.

tiny stars with non perils

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.

jars filled, labeled and back in the boxes

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!

· comments [16] · 04-7-2011 · categories:food ·

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Apr 7, 2011 at 5:33 am

    What a lovely idea. Our grandchildren are doing a lot of fund raising at school too. We sent money. My sister and her family live in Tokyo. This whole things has been very stressful. Hugs!

  • 2 Lindsay // Apr 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Typo alert – pretty sure you’re missing some zeros in your total amount raised (says $125 right now), which I normally wouldn’t bother you with but you guys should be SO proud of that total!

    But more importantly – those are ADORABLE. I know you claim that it was really not too big a deal to pop each and every tiny little star out of its cookie cutter, but MAN that would be too fiddly of a job for me. This is why my cookies are never this cute. :)

  • 3 megan // Apr 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Lindsay – Oh gah. I forgot to add a K. Fixed now, thank you for the heads up. I think I read that the Seattle bakesale made about $3000, which is outstanding.

  • 4 abigail // Apr 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I am so impressed and inspired! My eyes bulged out of my head when I saw the picture of all the star cookies cut out from the bigger piece of dough.

    A really lovely and celestial shot.

    And the cardstock label idea is awesome, bookmarking it for a future christmas/jam gift idea!

  • 5 erica // Apr 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    But! Where do you get the *JARS*??? Anyone know good online wholesalers?

  • 6 megan // Apr 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Erica – I simply got the jars at my local grocery store, honest. They come in a flat box of twelve and the ones I bought were 8 ounce jelly jars (maybe the 12 ounce ones, I cannot remember).

  • 7 Ricky // Apr 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    The little star cookies are just darling, I’m going to have to get some of those.

  • 8 Seanna Lea // Apr 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    These are awesome!

    I can buy jars like that at my grocery store as well (in Quincy, MA), but they feel like a seasonal thing. They aren’t always available on shelf, but are almost always there between September and November during canning season.

  • 9 lisa // Apr 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    my kids’ school (Laurelhurst Elementary here in Seattle) is having a bake sale to raise money to ship socks to Japan and I totally want to rip off your idea- would you mind?

  • 10 megan // Apr 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Lisa – Not at all, if you have a blog and talk about them I’d appreciate a link back :)

  • 11 Anne // Apr 14, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Do you have a template for the jar labels? I love the idea of printing the ingredients on the back!

  • 12 megan // Apr 14, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Anne – Sorry, no template. We just made circles in Photoshop that were a little bit bigger than the jar tops. I remember we used a very small font for the ingredients since these jar tops were smaller than usual.

  • 13 Janelle Reardon // Apr 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Versatile, classy idea — very flexible with many possibilities.

  • 14 Ann in the UP // Jun 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    You must have the patience of a saint!

  • 15 Susan // Sep 9, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Hi Megan, what a great idea! I am looking for items to sell for my Girl Scout troop. We will be doing some major fundraising in the next year.

  • 16 Jean // Sep 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

    These are beautiful, and to display them in the jars was a great idea.

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