Until recently, I was unfamiliar with the concept of dessert in a jar, but apparently it's a trend. And as trends go, it's not a bad one.
There's nothing new, I guess, about layered desserts, like parfaits, served in glass containers. So this is just an offshoot of that. The nice thing about it is that they present well, are fairly easy to make, and lend themselves to individual servings, so they're good when you have guests. There's also something less intimidating about making several individual desserts than trying to tackle one large dessert, where one mistake can doom the entire thing.
As a guide to this culinary species, 150 Best Desserts in a Jar is probably as good a guide as you're likely to find. Author Andrea Jordan, a food writer and cookbook author with 25-plus years of experience, takes the reader through "warm and comforting" desserts - think puddings, custards and cakes - through chilled treats like trifles, panna cotta, and, yes, parfaits. You'll find "adult" desserts like the inelegantly named but intriguing "strawberry, basil and vodka whiz," kid-friendly desserts like a peanut butter and chocolate cup, and one of my all-time favorites, tiramisu. There are also plenty of fruit-based desserts, which are perfect for our upcoming fresh-produce season.
As I've found with other Robert Rose publications, this book is well organized and illustrated, and the recipes are easy to follow. The bulk of its pages are devoted to recipes - not a lot of filler here - but the sidebars are given over to helpful tips and brief comments by the author. If you're tired of the same old chocolate cakes and apple pies, or would like to find some new use for all those Mason jars in your basement, 150 Best Desserts in a Jar is a fine source of ideas.
150 Best Desserts in a Jar
Andrea Jourdan, author
© 2013, Robert Rose