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Sweets 07.20.12

Desserts In Jars {Book Review + Recipes!}

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desserts in jars book review

DESSERTS IN JARS: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine

Eco-friendly, decorative, functional… I know you all love mason jars as much as we do at Hostess! (Remember them here and here and here for starters.) When it comes to parties & entertaining, these handy little containers are stellar at multitasking – utilized as everything from vases to drinkware to favor packaging.

Well… add one more thing to the list, because Shaina Olmanson teaches us how to bake fabulous sweets in them too! Filled with irresistible recipes and mouth-watering photos, her new book – Desserts in Jars – explores baking, serving & pretty much everything sweet about these perfect little vessels!

desserts in jars book review

Keep reading for a virtual “taste” of Desserts in Jars, including Shaina’s Espresso Créme Brûlée Recipe & my top 5 favorite things about her gorgeous new book. {We’ll be sharing a 2nd recipe from this book next week.} If you’re not hungry already… you will be SOON! ;)

desserts in jars book review apple pie

desserts in jars

desserts in jars peach raspberry verrines

desserts in jars book review



With so many different kinds of jars on the market, Shaina gives us a breakdown of which jars are best for which purpose. She talks about the height of the jars, the opening shape (and how to fill them), how to safely bake your desserts in the oven & how to save your treats in the freezer. She even lists her top 4 jars!

Some baking books really lean toward one kind of tasty treat, here she breaks it down extremely evenly: cakes & cupcakes, pies & pastries, custards & puddings, fruit desserts, frozen desserts & mixes for giving. The book is very comprehensive with all different kinds of desserts- making the purchase totally worth it (full of eye candy, lots of ideas & plenty of useful knowledge).

From simple to more gourmet style for experienced bakers & those who want a challenge, this book is for everyone! With such a wide variety of levels of baking, anyone can pick up this book, grab some jars & whip up a stunning, mouth-watering dessert. But the best part is- each recipe has 2-6 steps, standard baking equipment and ingredients. It’s all completely manageable and fun!

There are tons of tips & notes, for specific recipes and other general baking tips & specifics about using jars. Including handy conversions to the metric & Celsius equivalents, how to make a pie crust and tips for specific ingredients.

5. But what I really love about this book… is that I want to make every single recipe. All of the 50 recipes sound delicious, so even if a recipe may be a little more work than you feel like, just hand it over to your gourmet-chef-friend and then ask for a taste! ;) Let me water your mouth a little: Frozen Mudslide Pies, Sparkling Pomegranate & Orange Jelly Cups, Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon & Blueberry Sauce. And for those with a more traditional palette: Classic Apple Pie and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream! Need I say more?

Keep your eyes peeled because next week we’ll be sharing one more sneak peak- Shaina’s Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding Recipe.


Espresso Crémes Brûlées

Makes 10 jars

espresso creme brulee recipe - served in mason jars


– 1 quart heavy cream
– Vanilla bean seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 8 large egg yolks
– 1 teaspoon finely ground espresso beans
– 1/4 cup vanilla turbinado sugar (or can substitute with unflavored turbinado sugar or granulated sugar)


1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Place the cream and the vanilla bean seeds and pod in a medium-size saucepan. Bring the mixture just to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the granulated sugar and egg yolks. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the cream mixture and slowly whisk the cream into the egg yolks. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the espresso. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps.

3. Fill ten 4-ounce jars with the cream mixture. Place the jars 1 to 2 inches apart in a high-sided baking pan lined with a clean towel. Place the pan in the oven. Carefully pour hot water in the pan, taking care not to get any water in the jars, until the water is half-way up the sides of the jars. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the custard is just set but still has some wiggle in the center.

4. Remove the jars from the water bath and let cool slightly. Transfer them to the refrigerator and refrigerate until completely chilled, 2 to 3 hours.

5. To serve, remove the custards from the refrigerator and gently dry off any condensation that may have collected at the tops of the custard. Distribute the vanilla sugar among the 10 custards. Tilt the jars to cover the tops of the custards completely. Using a kitchen torch, heat the sugar until it turns golden brown. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve chilled.


If you try out this recipe, please upload photos to your HWTM profile, or share links with us here. We’d love to see how it turned out!

POSTED BY:alyssaHi, I’m Alyssa, and I love seeing all the inspiration on HWTM! Aside for my obvious love of design, parties, and blogging, here are a few random things about me… 1.

9 responses to “Desserts In Jars {Book Review + Recipes!}”

  1. Bird says:

    YUM!! Great eye and tummy “candy” Alyssa! :)

  2. Dina - Deliciously Darling Events says:

    Oh my gosh. I SO have to get this book. Thanks for the recipe! I so can’t wait to try Alyssa <3!

  3. I can’t wait to get this book + I love that it was written by a blogger!

  4. alyssa says:

    Thanks Bird, Dina & Courtney! This was my first book review- I’m so happy you all liked it! And it really is a great book, I’ll definitely be trying one of her recipes soon :)

  5. It all looks so delicious!

  6. veronica says:

    Been seeing a lot of desserts in jars repinned on pinterest. I think I’ll check this out! Thanks for the review.

  7. lyn says:

    the photography and food styling are fantastic! they all look so yummy.

  8. […] in:Party BooksSweets & TreatsShaina’s jar genius is back! As promised in our Desserts in Jars book review from last week, here’s another fabulous recipe from the book: the Lemon Blueberry Bread […]

  9. Kelly says:

    oh, yes. Desserts in jars are so cute…and I need me some espresso creme brulee right this minute!