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Essentials: A Secret Weapon for Jar Desserts

by Jamie on August 16, 2011

Post image for Essentials: A Secret Weapon for Jar Desserts

As you know, I am a big fan of baking and presenting food in jars and other glass pieces. A few weeks ago I was making these No-Bake Raspberry Lemon Cheesecakes and desperately wanted a way to get the crust to appear nice and even all the way around the small glass bowl. I attempted to use my fingers, a lid to my milk jug, and a small spoon. However, I was still left with a kinda bumpy layer of graham cracker crumbs. I knew they would taste delicious, but we all know that I’m a little crazy anal, so I kept pondering.

About five minutes later it hit me, and I flung open the freezer, dug through the bottom drawer, and retrieved a delicious chocolate malt push-up – which I promptly ate. Then I slid the plastic base and stick out of the cardboard tube and gave it good wash. Lightbulb moment, huh? Well, for me it was.

Simply hold the push-up upside down and use the stick as a handle and gently push the circular base into the crumbs to achieve a nice even layer. You don’t want to press too hard or the crumbs will become too compact which will make it a little difficult to eat.

Genius? Probably not, but quick, cheap and totally reusable – absolutely. Not to mention it’s a great excuse to eat a push-up! Wash it by hand and toss it into your gadget drawer for later uses.

What’s your best random kitchen tip?


{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin August 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

How resourceful!

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carly {carlyklock} August 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

Total light bulb moment – genius!

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Tracy August 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

Haha, great idea! Your presentation using the jars is so lovely; I’ll have to try it with this handy method!

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Amanda August 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

Uh YES that is genius!!

” chocolate malt push pop – which I promptly ate.”

LOL’d at that. You crack me up girl!

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Daisy B August 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

Love ideas like that. Total light bulb moment.

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts August 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

Creative! I haven’t had a push pop in years, you have me craving one now!

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JulieD August 16, 2011 at 11:44 am

Yep, it’s genius! :)

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Stephanie August 16, 2011 at 11:50 am

Great idea! And very easy and inexpensive! :) Btw, where did you get those cute little glass bowls? I’ve been looking for some like that all over the place and can’t find anything like them :(

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Jamie August 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

Stephanie-
They are from Pier 1. They come in a set of 12 bowls and 12 spoons. Kind of pricey, but I love them. Thanks for stopping by.
-Jamie

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Stephanie August 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Oh, thanks so much! I am going to try to find them this week sometime!

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Amy @ Elephant Eats August 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

Wow, great tip. But what I’d REALLY like to know is where you found a Chocolate Malt Push Pop…yum! The only push pops they have in my market are the sherbert ones :(

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Jamie August 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Amy-
I actually linked to the Chocolate Malt Push Pops in the post, so just follow link and you’ll be good to go! Thanks for stopping by!
-Jamie

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Rachel @ Baked by Rachel August 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I love these little genius ideas to make something just right. I’ve had to do similar things with other items including large cheesecakes – can’t handle hand pressed!

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lynne August 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Great idea! When I have to press a graham cracker crust in a rectangular pan, I use the lid of a spam musubi maker to press down the crust. It results in a packed and even layer!

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Maris (In Good Taste) August 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I would call that genius!

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Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking August 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Brilliant! AND you were able to eat a treat in addition to problem solving!

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Kathryn August 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I love how things look in jars but am rubbish at presenting them – what a genius tip!

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sara August 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I ran into the same problem when I was trying to make crusts for mini cheesecakes. I ended up using a tall shot glass to press down on the crumbs. But now I’m thinking that a push pop is definitely going to be a justified treat soon :)

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Paula August 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Good tip to know. Thanks for sharing it. As much as I love all of the *jar* recipes I’ve seen, I have yet to bake one. Better get ahold of some push pop sticks before I do ;)

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Momma August 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hey Queenie, They are called push-ups.You and Jared loved them as kids.

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Jamie August 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Ha- You are totally right. I made the adjustment – kids? I still love them! :)

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Melissa August 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for sharing your suggestion, that does make the crumb base look a lot neater than mine ever have. My random kitchen tip is to put deviled eggs stuffing into a gallon storage bag, snip off the end, and pipe it into the eggs halves. Not at all original, but a whole lot cleaner and easier than spooning it into the eggs halves.

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Chels R. August 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Looks like I need to get some push pops like asap! Now please tell me, where did you get those darling little jars?!

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leslie August 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

A push up pop stick??? Yep, your pretty much genius!
Hmmm..what kind of trick can I contribute?? I pound my chicken in a freezer gallon zip lock bag. They are sturdy, they never break open and they keep the chicken cooties contained!

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TidyMom August 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Genius!! I love it!

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Kelsey @aslolife August 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

love it! Desserts in jars just seem so much fancier and cute. I almost made mini pies in mason jars for my wedding but in the end, it was way too much work for a few days before the wedding. I would love to try it for a smaller event though.

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Darby August 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I use the large nailhead rose makers from Wilton. Also great as a heat balance in large (larger than 10 x 10 x 2) cakes.

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Becca August 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Psh, I don’t care what you say, this is a GENIUS idea! :D

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Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm

That’s a brilliant idea! I have to go buy some pushup pops just to give it a try!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit August 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm

That’s awesome! How resourceful :)

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Savorique August 17, 2011 at 7:43 am

What a secret weapon of mass salivation! :p I love recycling spare parts like that, bravo!

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Heather "Ida" Andrick August 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

LOVE your blog…your recipes, your insight, your humor. You’ve got a big fan in Minnesota! (Oh, and I’ve got My Baking Addiction as one of my favorite links on my blog). :)

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angela@spinachtiger August 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

Love your jar desserts and it’s always fun to find an unusual tool. I use a wooden honey dipper to stir ganache. Works like a charm.

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Rachel @ the Avid Appetite August 17, 2011 at 9:32 am

Love this tip! I do not currently own any glass items for baking, but your beautiful desserts are beckoning me to finally do so!

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Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies August 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

You are SO smart!

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Connie Pruitt August 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

Great idea. I made this with blueberrys last week and its a hit. Thanks!

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Kim August 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

That IS a great idea!
I tend to buy the airplane size bottles of boozes so that I can try the new flavors out or a new cocktail recipe out without committing to the expense of a full size bottle, then not liking it and it being a expensive dust collector. THEN…, I found that the empty cleaned bottles make the perfect size to-go salad dressing bottle for my homemade vinegarettes. Just toss it right in the salad container and off to work I go.

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Janet August 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Definitely a great idea! Of course now I want to get those push-up pops too! Those little bowls are great too. AND they come with spoons!? And I’m not far from a Pier One. But if I came home with more kitchen items…..

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Karen@Mignardise August 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I love an idea that requires eating something delicious first. Brilliant.
My random tip…I use my pancake plopper tool for cupcake batter. It “plops” the batter into the cupcake papers very neatly and quickly.

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Mary Beth August 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

What a great idea! I’ve made a few desserts in mason jars and always come across this problem. Thanks for sharing!

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Alicia C. August 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Great idea! I’d have to make sure I used a new one each time, though. More push-ups for me! I can just see it now, “Oh, but Mommy HAS to eat another one of your push ups or I can’t make the cheesecake dessert you like so much!”

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen August 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

What a great trick and an excellent excuse for me to get some push up pop ;-)

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Possible Baker August 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Oh my word- brilliant! Absolutely brillant!! And so delicious looking!! Thank you so much for the kitchen tip:) I can always use more of those! A kitchen tip…hmmm…..I use an ice cream scoop for cupcake batter and cookie dough and a melon baller for mini cupcake batter.

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Lauren Z. August 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I don’t have an actual flour sifter, so I usually use a fine mesh strainer. Lately I have come up with this method: Rest the handles of the strainer on the edges of a mixing bowl (the strainer should be just slightly smaller than the size of your bowl). Dump all the dry ingredients that you want to sift together in the strainer. Then hold the handles of the strainer WITH the bowl and shake to sift. This way at least flour doesn’t get all over everything when I shake the strainer back and forth to sift. Maybe this isn’t anything new and earthshaking, but it works for me. :)

Jamie, as a suggestion for another post in this section of yours, do you think you could do like a tutorial on different ways of piping cupcakes like you do? They look just beautiful!

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Nicole @ Bake Me Blush August 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I love the look of jar desserts, so I don’t know what’s held me back all this time from trying to make one myself. Thanks for sharing this post, as I’m sure it will be motivation enough! By the way, I love the push-up idea. It made me smile and I’m sure it will work wonderfully.

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Kristen September 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Gonna have to rename you the MacGyver of cooking…. what can you do with 2 paperclips and an empty papertowel roll?

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AmyRuth September 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Every time I toss yet “one more thing” into my gadget drawer, I laugh at all the stuff my kids will find one day when I’m not around. LOL They will wonder “what did she save that for?” he he Anyway, I love AH HA moments and that is definitely a genius moment. We all love the jar things!

Here’s mine. So far I haven’t stolen my hubz ipad for kitchen use, which means I use my laptop. I’ve long thought someone should invent a cover for the keyboard that is both functional, washable and protects. For now I just cover it with Saran wrap.
Thanks for sharing

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Jas June 26, 2012 at 3:34 am

I love how you can portion things into little glass jars. Just wondering how do you get/what’s oven proof?

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Jamie June 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Jas-
I recommend checking with the manufacturer of your glassware before baking anything in them. Have a great day.
-Jamie

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Neill August 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

and if you don’t have a push-up around to eat, bit you do have a meat thermometer in the sorta-mushroom shape, that would probably work as well

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Rachel September 7, 2013 at 1:37 am

Where do you get those jars??!

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Jamie September 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Hi Rachel,

I got those at Pier 1.
-Jamie

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Maria July 22, 2014 at 11:39 am

Where can i find these small jars fir dessert?

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Jamie August 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

Department stores or Amazon is a great resource for kitchen items.

-Jamie

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