As the holidays have been creeping closer and closer, recipes for Christmas confections have been dancing in my head. I collect recipes and pictures of food like a hoarder, inspired by a colorful plate of food, an intriguing flavor . . . or in this case, one of my favorite television series.
I am a Whovian – loud and proud! I have spent a considerable amount of time waiting for a strange Doctor and his lovely blue police box to appear in my yard. I anticipate snow so I can try out my latest plans for a life-size Tardis out of snow (I even have plans to make it appear bigger on the inside). With all my love for Doctor Who, it was only natural that I should take my love to the kitchen. While fish fingers and custard could be quite tasty, I’m in a cookie state of mind. What could be more Whovian than a batch of Jammie Dodgers?
Jammie Dodgers are traditionally a shortbread cookie filled with jam. If you are already familiar with Linzer cookies, you’re on the right path. Hmm, I thought. I can make shortbread cookies and jam is a breeze to whip up. The Angels sing and a star is born!
I will warn you up front, I have taken a few liberties here. The shortbread cookie recipe is actually a family recipe. Big thanks to my Aunt Linda for sharing her Sugar Cookie recipe with me . . . and now, with you! I selected her recipe because it is not one of those overly-sweet-put-you-in-a-sugar-coma recipes. It has just a hint of sugar, enough salt to tingle the tastebuds and will hold up to spreading; a perfect compliment to a fruit jam. As far as jam is concerned, fresh is best. I am including a quick and easy jam recipe below. If making jam just isn’t your thing, don’t sweat the small stuff – store bought jam will work wonders in a pinch.
TO MAKE THE COOKIES, you will need:
3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Table Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Shortening
1/4 cup Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
Confectioners/Icing Sugar, for dusting
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Grease cookie sheets.
2.) In a large bowl, mix together Flour, Salt, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Sugar.
3.) Cut Shortening into the dry ingredients. The mixture should begin to resemble sand.
4.) In a measuring cup, beat Milk, Vanilla and Eggs with a fork to blend.
5.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold until the dough begins to come together. The dough will still be loose.
6.) Turn the dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with Confectioners/Icing Sugar. Knead the dough until the mixture comes together completely and will hold shape.
7.) With a rolling pin dusted with Confectioners/Icing Sugar, roll dough out to approximately 1/8″ in width. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out individual cookies from the rolled dough.
8.) Place cookies on the greased sheet. Bake until just firm to the touch, approximately 10 minutes.
9.) Allow cookies to cool on the sheet pan approximately 5 minutes. Move cookies to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 40 cookies, but remember sandwich cookies require 2 cookies 🙂
Note: Using Confectioners/Icing Sugar to dust surface and rolling pin allows the cookies to retain a bit of sweetness. The recipe has a large flour to sugar ratio, so using flour to dust your surface and rolling pin results in bland cookies.
TO MAKE THE JAM, you will need:
2 cups of Fruit, prepared*
1/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 1/4 oz Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
*To prepare, remove pits, stones, cores, seeds and peel where necessary. Cut bigger fruits into slices or smaller pieces to allow the fruit to break down more quickly and at a consistent rate.
1.) Add fruit to a medium pot and place over medium-low heat. Bring fruit to a slow simmer, stirring regularly, approximately 15 minutes. The fruit will begin to break down and provide juice.
2.) Add Confectioners Sugar and stir to integrate completely. Continue cooking fruit mixture approximately 5 minutes. The fruit should be equal parts fruit pieces and juice. If you have a great volume of juice, that is okay.
3.) Using a fork or masher, mash the fruit. Do not completely destroy the fruit, you want pieces of fruit to run throughout the jam.
4.) Remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the fruit mixture with Gelatin. Stir with a fork to dissolve the gelatin completely.
5.) Set the jam mixture aside and allow to cool completely. As the mixture cools, it will gel together. Alternately, now would be a good time to put the jam mixture into jars and save for later.
TO ASSEMBLE JAMMIE DODGERS:
1.) Take a Sugar Cookie, flat side up.
2.) Spread a generous amount of jam on the flat side of the cookie.
3.) Top with another Sugar Cookie, flat side facing jam.
4.) Dust with Confectioners/Icing Sugar, if desired
These sandwich cookies are even better with your warm beverage of choice. Snuggle up on the couch with a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa, a couple of Jammie Dodgers and watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Enjoy!