Whether you’re planning a picnic, heading to the beach for the day, or having friends and family over for a good, old-fashioned cookout, outdoor eating is a big part of summer. Serving dessert outdoors can be tricky — it seems like bugs and other pests love sweets as much as people do! Add to that how many desserts don’t travel well (good luck packing a coconut cream pie in your cooler) and you’re likely to want to give up on serving your favorite desserts when you’re picnicking or having a cookout. The solution to both of these problems, however, is simple: layer your favorite flavors in a Mason jar for an easy-to-make (and easy-to-transport) dessert.
Making dessert in a resalable jar is simple as long as you follow these three basic tips:
Use the Right Size Jar
Unless you’re serving your Mason jar desserts with long-handled spoons, stick to pint-sized jars. The wide shape of their openings (and the fact that these jars aren’t too deep) makes them easier to eat from than larger sizes. Also, a pint-sized dessert in a jar makes the perfect individually sized serving.
Know How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust
Mix 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs with ¼ cup of melted butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar for an easy crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of your jars and refrigerate for an hour before layering the other ingredients in the jar. This easy crust makes the perfect base for all of your favorite pie-inspired recipes.
Simplicity Is Key
Don’t go overboard with the layering. Choose classic flavor pairings (like strawberries and whipped cream or chocolate and coconut) and try to stick to 3 or 4 basic ingredients total. A good formula to follow is: crust (or something else crunchy) + something sweet (like pudding or fruit) + something light and creamy (like whipped cream). Then, spread your ingredients into distinct layers for a pretty presentation.
Not sure you’re ready to create your own dessert in a jar? Try one of these seven easy recipes instead.
Chocolate Mousse Pie in a Jar
A great alternative to a graham cracker crust? One that uses chocolate wafer cookies instead. The chocolate crust in this recipe is the perfect complement to the light and creamy mousse on top.
Coconut Cream Pie in a Jar
There’s no easy way to pack a cream pie in your picnic basket — until now. These individually sized desserts have all of the coconut cream pie flavor you love in a perfectly portable package.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.