Here is a taste of the Islands you can make and send to your "mainland" friends and family to tantalize their taste buds. This gift giving idea is a way to spread the ALOHA SPIRIT. The following three recipes are a pleasant way to share the foods of Hawaii and to support our local businesses. The brownie recipe has the ingredients listed separately. The other two recipes are a short version, using ready-made mixes.
Tray with cocoa brownie supplies
My intent is to encourage you to be creative and experiment with your own ideas. It is also to be a catalyst for you to have fun and share your Aloha. I make these jar gifts and keep in my pantry as a quick gift for the folks in my life that I want to share a special thank you with. Send a jar to your keiki's teacher; leave a jar for the mailperson, how about the newspaper person, or your neighbor?
I grew up in an Italian family where we had a custom of gift giving that shaped the way I am in my adulthood. This custom is one of the good habits I inherited from my family. When we visited a neighbor or a member of our family’s home we would ALWAYS bring a gift of food. To come without a gift was considered poor taste.
There were rules about what food you should bring. It could never be a cooked dish, as that would insult the host or hostesses cooking abilities. It had to be a fancy dessert from a bakery. A chocolate-layered cake with a maraschino cherry on top seemed to be a favorite. Italian cookies in a fancy assortment were always a great choice. The cookies would be sold in a white cake box tied with red string. If you were not near a bakery you could bring an Entenmann’s pastry from the grocery store.
In recent years the rules of food gifting have changed a bit. Now it is ok to check with the recipient about bringing a main course food. In our busy world a cooked food might be helpful to the host or hostess. Flowers, potted plants, wine, something you made or purchased on a trip, have become acceptable gifts.
I lived in a culturally rich neighborhood and remember a wonderful Jewish family who had some food customs similar to our Italian customs. My friend, Ilene Goldman said that in her culture you would be looked upon favorably as being a "mensch" if you brought a gift to someone. Mensch is a Yiddish word means somebody good, kind, decent, and honorable. In any culture or language it is always honorable to bring a gift of some sort.
Empty pasta jars
3 EMPTY pasta sauce jars (32 ounce size jars) or Mason Jars 3 cloth squares for decorating the lids of the jars. 7" X 7" square I cut up an old Aloha shirt or purchase fabric squares at the flea market. Ask around, perhaps someone you know has an old Aloha shirt they are not wearing any more. Raffia or ribbon to tie the cloth around the jar lids Custom labels with "How-to-bake" instructions
I will list the ingredients needed along with each recipe. Carefully layer the ingredients in each of the empty jars in the order they are listed. Please read through the whole recipe first. Some of the directions must be followed in the order listed to achieve the best results. When I first made these recipes I added an ingredient to the jar out of order. I was in a hurry to see how they would look. I goofed and could not remove the ingredient it without disturbing the layers.
Kona Coffee Cocoa Brownies in jar
Kona Coffee Cocoa Brownies 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup sugar ¼ to ½ cup dry "instant" Kona coffee or other brand instant coffee 1 cup white chocolate chips 1 cup milk chocolate chips 1 cup macadamia nuts or walnuts. I do not chop the mac nuts. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt
You can substitute chocolate M&M’s or marshmallow for the chips or nuts. After the last ingredient is poured into the jar close the lid of the jar. Add a label to the outside of the jar. Wrap the cloth and raffia around the lid. Attach a small note with these directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 bake pan. Pour mix into a bowl. Add ½ cup shortening of your choice and one egg. Mix batter until all dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. *This is the part of the note where you can add your special touch.
Sugar cookie mix and bag of macadamia nuts
Macadamia Nut-Kona Coffee Cookies ½ package of pre-mixed sugar cookies (Betty Crocker or other brand) Save the other ½ of the cookie mix ¾ cup macadamia nuts ¼ cup instant Kona coffee or other brand dry instant coffee The other ½ package of sugar cookie mix ¼ cup macadamia nuts
This recipe is a short version. I use a cookie mix ready-made type. This will take less than 30 minutes to make, or you can get creative and make it a masterpiece. Use one empty jar. Add ingredients in the order listed. As you make this recipe you will need to push the ingredients down into the jar so they all fit. Close the jar lid and decorate with the fabric as listed in the brownie recipe above.
Macadamia Nut - Kona Coffee Cookies
The baking directions for the Mac Nut cookie recipe are: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour cookie mix into a bowl. Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted). Use a floured cookie cutter or hand shape and flatten the cookies on the pan. If you use a shiny bake pan they will be ready in 7-9 minutes. If you use a dark or non-stick pan bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges of cookies are lightly browned.
Toasted coconut on tray
Toast 1/2 cup of coconut under the broiler. I line the pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easy. Set aside to cool. Use one empty jar and add the following ingredients in the order listed. You can use either a white or yellow cake mix.
Pineapple Coconut Cake ½ the contents of a ready-mix box Cake Mix ½ cup dried sweetened coconut ½ cup toasted coconut 1 cup dried chopped pineapple
Pineapple and coconut supplies on tray
Push the previous listed ingredients down in the jar and:
Add the other ½ of the packaged cake mix
Push all the ingredients down into the jar so it will fit into the jar.
Baking directions: There are three choices of bake pans to use. Bundt pan, cupcake pan or a 9" X 13" pan. The recipe is the same for either one you choose.
1 and 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Each box of cake mix comes with different instructions. I recommend you follow the directions on the box. My instructions are for the Betty Crocker cake Mix.
Bundt pan method: Grease a bundt cake pan with Pam spray. Pour cake mix into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 33-38 minutes. I test for doneness by the brown edges of the cake in the bundt pan. I also press the cake with my finger and if it springs back it is done.
Cupcakes. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Fill the papers 1/2 full. This recipe will make 24 cupcakes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with frosting and toasted coconut if desired.
9" X 13" pan. Grease the pan with Pam or shortening. Pour batter into the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Use a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake to test for doneness. If the toothpick comes out dry, the cake is done.
I hope you enjoyed creating your Hawaiian Sunshine in a Jar masterpiece. This is a fun project for children to make. You can teach measurement and gift giving at the same time. Feel free to ask me any questions or leave a comment. Enjoy your goodies.
Pineapple Coconut Cake
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