Friday, June 24, 2016

Cookies in a Jar

My cottage in Ireland!

In case anybody missed all the blather, I’m just back from two weeks in Ireland, fitting out my very own cottage. No, it wasn’t ready to stay in yet (no running water—the well pump had pumped its last, and I’ve found someone to replace it), so I stayed in a nice rental unit on a dairy farm. I am now well informed about managing dairy cattle—even watched a newborn calf take its first steps.

The "business end" of milking
What I love about staying in rentals rather than B&Bs is that I have a kitchen, and I love to cook with the local products. There’s a terrific supermarket in nearby Skibbereen, and then there’s the Skibbereen farmers’ market every Saturday. I swear I plan whole trips around being there in time for the market.

I’ve probably written about the market before, but it’s worth talking about again. It’s a mix of the best of local foods (who knew West Cork was a foodie paradise?) and people selling both crafts and stuff—“stuff” being typical flea market treasures. I scored well, buying six stainless steel copper bottomed pots and pans for about $30 total. Okay, check that off my to-do list for the cottage.

But, oh, the food! Fresh fish, breads and cakes, cheese, meats, smoked fish. Live birds for sale, and fresh chicken and duck eggs. It breaks my heart when I want to buy everything and cook with it, but there’s only me and sometimes my husband to consume it. I hope somebody enjoys the cheese I had to leave behind. I ate just about everything else.


If I have to comment on one change that I’ve seen in the years I’ve been visiting the Saturday market, it’s the growth of products that advertise that they’re gluten-free. And there are a lot of breads made from spelt now. The place and its vendors move with the times.

My cottage is in Drinagh, home to the region’s largest dairy co-op. Since I was staying on a dairy farm up the hill from Skibbereen, I watched the Co-op tanker trucks arrive every two to three days to collect the milk (stored in temperature-controlled conditions, I assure you!). That’s a lot of milk. 

It shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve been a bit too busy to put together a recipe for MLK, but! I found a wonderful thing in the supermarket: cookies in a jar, made by a company called Bake It Easy. Apparently it’s a relatively new product that has gone on sale recently (I ended up talking with a sales rep for the brand when I went back to stock up). Everything you need is in the jar, in lovely tidy layers. You open it, empty it into a bowl, add butter and an eggs, spoon it out onto a baking sheet and bake! A child can do it. 

I know, it sounds a bit like the first instant cake mixes that appeared on the market a long time ago. I’m told the manufacturers like Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines instructed the home baker to add milk and egg just to make them feel they had something to do—they could just as easily have added powdered milk and egg to the mix.

But I’m glad I went back the second time, because I got to sample three of the flavors—Oately Dotely, Choca Bloc, and Smart Cookie--and they’re good (would I tell you about them if they weren’t?). Really. (And, believe it or not, I talked up MLK to the sales rep.)

So, rather than provide you with a recipe and all the pictures, I’m offering a giveaway to three winners, one for each cookie flavor. Just leave a comment and tell me which one you like, and I’ll draw one winner for each and send you the jar of instant cookies! (BTW, the chocolate one looks pale in the jar, but it bakes up into nice dark cookies.)

There's no one book attached to this post--I learn a lot any time I visit Ireland, and it all goes into the books.

But! Stay tuned for some exciting news about the fifth book in the series, coming next spring.


  1. Great recap/post! I would most like to try the Choca Bloc cookie flavor.

  2. They all look good but since I am one, I will line up for Smart Cookie.

  3. I use to make these in quart mason jars and sell them at craft fairs. Everybody loved them at Christmas time!

    kkdaley (at) comcast dot net

  4. Sheila, I mentioned this on Facebook, but I hope you're thinking of compiling all the "blather" into a memoir! You could talk MLK up in that too:)

    1. Happy to do it! And I'm so happy that people were following the story and sharing it all with me.

  5. I'm always envious of people that have homes in other countries!!! I would like to try either the Smart Cookie or the Oately Dotely....they sound like a fun find.

  6. I loved following your experiences while in Ireland , it was awesome to see all the pics ! I would happily take any of the cookie mixes if I'm lucky enough to win 😁

  7. Your own cottage? How utterly marvelous!
    Your adventures in Ireland are so wonderful sounding. And that farmer's market is very impressive.

    Being such a smarty, I'd love to try the Smart Cookies.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  8. These all sound interesting, but I think I'll choose Smart Cookie. I so hope I can go to Ireland some day. Thank you for the chance to win. Dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. I love making my own baking mixes to give as gifts. I would love to see how mine compare to these. I would love to try any flavor though I think I would like the Choca bloc best. I love the packaging on these as well, so cute.

    1. They do use good ingredients, and they're like instant gratification in a jar. I think kids would love them. I think the packaging and the names are brilliant!

  10. I love all the photos & am happy to see you are getting your second home all together. I would love to try the Oately Dotely cookies.

  11. Oakley Doatly sounds interesting.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  12. Those are my kind of cookies! I would love to try the Oatley Dotely (I like the slogan "Bake me, I'm yours!") -- I wonder if they taste anything like my favorite British cookies, Hob Nobs! Thanks for such a cool giveaway, and I've enjoyed reading about your cottage ~