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Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine Hardcover-spiral – June 26, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Note from the Author

Dear Readers,

I was fascinated as a young girl watching my grandmother float through the kitchen, moving quickly and with precision as she turned out dish after dish to serve to family and friends. Her care and commitment as she created each course, brought out at just the perfect moment for its unveiling, would suck me in with the power of the statement it made. There would be days midweek that my grandmother would appear on her bicycle in the driveway, a basket of fresh doughnuts hanging from the handlebars just because. It was then that I truly appreciated the beauty that lives in the process of giving and gifting food to others and the ability it has to connect us all.

I never lost my passion for creating meals to be raved over or desserts that made a statement just by placing them on the table. For me, the kitchen has always been about me giving a part of myself to others. It is what keeps me there every day, to share it with my four children and to demonstrate the importance of a home-cooked meal.

Desserts in Jars is a small piece of me that I am giving, a bit of sweet to be savored at the end of a long day. From the more refined Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Crème and Peach Granita Bellinis to the kid-friendly Frozen Banana Splits, I hope that it will inspire you to give bits of yourself to those you love and cherish as well whatever the occasion.

--Shaina Olmanson

Sample Recipes from Desserts in Jars

Peach-Raspberry Verrines with Lemon-Thyme Cream
(Click photo for recipe)
Cardamom Pear Crisps
(Click photo for recipe)


"Desserts in Jars is equal parts beautiful, precious, creative, inspired, and irresistible. Every turn of the page unveils a new surprise, and the photography leaves you longing for every single delicious-looking recipe."

—Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks

"I love the idea of baking individual desserts in jars. Whether you serve them at parties or share them as gifts, the sweets in Shaina’s book are a beautiful collection of recipes sure to bring joy to anyone—including yourself."

—Angie Dudley, Bakerella.com, author of Cake Pops

"Shaina has written a gorgeous book, at once playful, sophisticated, and delicious! The recipes are delightful, and serving them in jars is a lot of fun."

—Zoë François, co-author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
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Product Details

  • Hardcover-spiral: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press; Spi edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558327983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558327986
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By SLS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
What a divine little book to wreak havoc with carb-counters! Shaina Olmanson's Desserts In Jars is indeed a sweet way to tease your insulin back to life and remind you of that pancreas you learned about in high school.

Normally, when I review a cookbook I will have already tried at least 3 recipes so I can make a more informed report. But because I need to keep my insulin quiescent for a few more weeks, I will come back and provide an update. (Update 8/29/2012: please see end of review.) And when I do, here will be the first recipes I'll consider:

* Peanut Butter Cup Cakes
* Pull-apart Cinnamon Breads
* Peach Bourbon Pies
* Lemon-Blueberry Bread Puddings
* Sweet Corn Panna Cotta (It's got a bacon & blueberry topping)
* Banana Buttermilk Trifles
* Frozen Mudslide Pies
* Apple Pancake Puffs
* Campfire Bars Mix (a super attractive mix-in-a-jar for gift-giving)

Every recipe has its own photograph and specifies which size of jar is needed (but this critical information is imbedded deep within each set of instructions). Ms. Omanson provides a helpful introduction to baking with jars, including online sources for jar manufacturers. She even gives tips, such as aging egg whites for better French macarons. Most recipes are short, but a couple are longer and more involved (for example: the Pains au Chocolat). Also worth knowing is that many of the recipes require more than just the jar for cooking; you should anticipate using cupcake tins, baking pans, and cookie sheets.

** Unless you are an avid canner, you'll most likely need to invest in a few sets of jars. Some recipes require up to 24 4-ounce jars, up to 14 8-ounce jars, and some use wide-mouth and/or tall variants of each.
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Format: Hardcover-spiral Verified Purchase
I just read this book from cover to cover, and it's one of the few cookbooks where I can say that every single recipe appealed to me! I love that there's an entire section of dry mixes to give as gifts. That's Christmas sorted for me (along with a copy of this book for each recipient)!

Shaina has proved she's truly a master at recipe developing. You'd think with 50 recipes, there'd be some overlap or repetition, but there isn't. From the Indian Rice Pudding to the pains au chocolat, I am set for dinner party desserts from now on.

The photography is stunning, and speaking of those pains au chocolate - the photo of those literally had me imagining the crisp flaky texture of the pastry and the bittersweet surprise of chocolate. I am impressed!
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Format: Hardcover-spiral
Desserts in Jars and is filled with suggestions for delicious sweets cooked or presented in jars. The author includes useful information on using jars, such as the variety of sizes, their eco-friendy nature, and tips on how to fill, bake, freeze and decorate them. I appreciate how the jars can be implemented as a practical baking dish, as well as a beautiful serving dish.

In Desserts in Jars, the Cakes and Cupcakes area has several scrumptious recipes, including a ribbon adorned tres leches cakes, which are sponge cakes soaked in three milks and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Pies seem so well suited to jars, and my favorites always have the tiny lattice top crust, which looks so perfectly adorable. Custards and puddings are either baked in the jars or spooned into them after being cooked and make an easy to eat treat, whether it's Indian Rice Pudding or Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Creme.

Seasonal fruit can be made into crisps, crumbles, cobblers and more. I had to try the trifle though, which has Banana Buttermilk Cake layered with banana pudding, sliced bananas and topped with whipped cream. It was a perfect summer dessert that certainly did not disappoint and it looked gorgeous in the glass jars!

The frozen dessert chapter includes chilly treats like ice cream cakes, frozen pies and granitas. But the recipe I had to try was the "Fried" Ice Cream, which didn't require frying at all. For this yummy concoction, I just had to press the cornflake topping in the bottom of the jar, add ice cream, and while it firmed up in the freezer, I made the honey caramel sauce (yum!) which went on top with a bit more of the topping. Mmmm, heavenly! And easy, too.

The last section in Desserts in Jars has ideas for gifts mixes, which I really enjoy making for holiday presents. I love how pretty the ingredients look layered in the jars and how the reusable jar becomes an extra gift, too.
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Format: Hardcover-spiral
Desserts in Jars reacquainted me with memories of my Grandpa and our time spent together eating mini desserts and parfaits out of jars. The appeal of pies, puddings, cakes and more in little single serving dessert jars was one I could totally relate to. There's just something about eating dessert in your very own special jar that makes it all the more decadent.

Desserts in Jars is full of a wide range of recipes and beautiful photos. The photography in this book is stunning and the recipes are well written with easy to follow instructions. So far, my favorite recipe I've tried is the Tres Leches cake. From the presentation down to the flavor, this was one recipe I'll be returning to time and time again.

If you are looking for a cookbook full of fun ideas, delicious recipes and beautiful photography, you won't be disappointed with Desserts in Jars.
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