Jammy Dodgers

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I had a wonderful vacation in London.  So while I know most of you see cookies, we're actually talking about biscuits today.  British biscuits, that is.  In general, British biscuits are what we call cookies in America, with the distinction that biscuits are of the crunchy, drier variety that's so perfect with a cup of tea! 
Tea and biscuits go hand in hand. Think of the history and tradition of taking tea and you can understand the natural pairing of sweet crunchy biscuits such as shortbread. I naturally gravitate towards soft, chewy, gooey cookies but it never ceases to amaze me how good a simple biscuit is when I do have it.  Tins of Royal Dansk butter cookies are part of my earliest childhood biscuit/cookie memories and growing up during the first handful of my years in Hong Kong, British foods, including biscuits, have a special place in my heart.
It's always fun to pay homage to something by making something to eat!  Our trip to London was such fun - we were lucky to enjoy great weather and we soaked up the beautiful city, friendly people, and classic eats.  From Sunday roast to afternoon tea, it was wonderful to be in a place so familiar, yet so different from home.  

One of the best experiences I had in London was afternoon tea.  My fellas and I enjoyed all the comfort and deliciousness of a true English tea experience at Fortnum & Mason (which, incidentally, is now my favorite shop in the world). Honestly, I had modest expectations (because, so often, afternoon tea looks appealing but doesn't quite match up taste-wise) but I walked away realizing that afternoon tea can not only look beautiful but also taste incredible. Everything - from savory to sweet - was delectable, enjoyed leisurely in a beautiful and comfortable setting.   
While it might be fun to recreate afternoon tea at home one day, I started with a small inspiration to pay homage to afternoon tea.  My son had the children's array of afternoon tea eats and among the treats on the top of his 3-tier cake stand was a Jammy (or "Jammie") Dodger, or so we were told.  It was a simple shortbread sandwich biscuit (cookie) filled with jam; they're much like linzer torte cookies, minus the almond meal. Jammie Dodgers are apparently a very popular children (and adult) biscuit in the UK, made by Burton's Biscuit Co. for over 50 years. If you're wondering about the "Dodgers" part of the name, it was named after a comic strip character.

Maybe it's the catchy name but the little biscuit stuck with me and I made a small batch of them at home to enjoy with my family.  These shortbread biscuits are tender and buttery, plus they melt in your mouth thanks to the powdered sugar used in the dough.  Jammy Dodgers are usually filled with strawberry or raspberry jam; I filled mine with strawberry and apricot jam and breaking away with the "rules", I also sandwiched a few with Nutella for my son.
Much to everyone's surprise (particularly his own), the 11-year old truly enjoyed the formal afternoon tea experience and while he wasn't eager to attack his Jammy Dodger there (he's not a fan of fruit jams unless it's in a tri-color cookie), he was a huge fan of my at-home Nutella version.  He's asked me to make more again for him soon - now I call that a successful bake!  


Below is a pic of the little Jammy Dodger from my son's afternoon tea stand that inspired this.  I'm glad the server told us the name of the biscuit so that it stuck with me in a fun way.
Traditionally, the biscuits are cut with a heart-shape cutter for the opening but since I didn't have one in the right size, mine were cut with a flower shape.  For these small-size cut outs, look for fondant cutters.

It's probably fitting that I used a recipe from Paul Hollywood because I watched quite a few hours of The Great British Bake Off on the flight home from London (the contestants always amaze me).  I was a little nervous about making this dough, which is similar to preparing a sweet tart crust dough but it's actually pretty simple.

To start, rub small dices of butter (I used chilled but not super cold butter) into the flour, icing/confectioners' sugar and salt until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (British scones are often made in a similar way, by working butter into the dry ingredients to a breadcrumb texture).  You don't want any large lumps in the mixture - you are looking for a rather uniform breadcrumb consistency.  I've seen recipes that use either confectioners' sugar or caster (superfine granulated) sugar.  Personally, I really like the silky texture powdered sugar gives shortbread cookies.
Then add an egg yolk and work it together to form a dough.  It might not look like it's going to happen but it does.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently to form a smooth ball.  Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
If you chill it for longer than 30 minutes like I did, you'll find the dough hard and will need to let it sit at room temperature to soften a bit to work with more easily.  Then, roll the dough to a thickness between 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.
Cut out shapes using a fluted or round cookie cutter and then cut out a smaller opening in half of those to use as tops to the sandwiches.  My cutters were about 2 - 2 1/2 inches wide and this recipe (half the original) yields about a dozen sandwiched biscuits.  Chill the cut dough again for about 30 minutes before baking (you can do this a day ahead, wrapping the dough tightly and storing in the refrigerator).
Bake the cookies at 325 degrees until they are just starting to turn color at the edges. The cookies should be pale when done.  For an optional sparkle (like the one at Fortnum & Mason), remove the cookies about 2 minutes before they're finished baking and sprinkle the cut-out tops with sugar (I used superfine, or caster sugar, which is often called for in British baking).  I left a few without sugar and I preferred the appearance of the ones with it.
Once cooled, it's time for the fun part.  Add a small dollop of jam (or Nutella) to the center of the bottom halves and spread it slightly.  Then place the tops on each and gently press together.  You want the filling to go almost to the outer edges.
I covered a few bases with strawberry jam, apricot jam, and Nutella.  The Jammy Dodger at Fortnum & Mason's was filled with raspberry jam.  Had I any raspberry jam on hand, I would have loved to use it.  I also enjoyed some delicious lemon curd at tea and I think that would be wonderful as a filling as well.
These homemade Jammy Dodgers are delectable.  It highlights the simple goodness of butter and sugar, somehow creating a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookie (I mean, biscuit!) that's enhanced with the vibrancy of a touch of jam (or chocolate) in the center.
I can see why Jammy Dodgers have been a favorite among the Brits for so long. Simple ingredients - and classic flavors - often make the loveliest treats.

Recipe:


Jammy Dodgers

Adapted from Paul Hollywood

- For approximately twelve (2 to 2 1/2-inch round) sandwiched biscuits -


138 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

110 grams unsalted butter, cut into small dices (I used chilled but not super cold butter)
50 grams icing/confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 large egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Optional: granulated sugar, for dusting (superfine or caster sugar, if you have it)
For filling: A few spoonfuls of your preferred jam (such as strawberry, raspberry, or apricot) or Nutella

Place flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add butter and rub ingredients together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  (You can start with a pastry cutter, then continue with your fingers.  You are looking for a uniform breadcrumb texture, without any large lumps.)  Add egg yolk and bring together to form a dough.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Gently knead together to form a smooth ball.  Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.


Turn chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface (you might need to let the dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly before rolling).  Roll the dough out to a thickness that's between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (somewhere in the middle will do the trick).  Cut out rounds using a cookie cutter, re-rolling the scraps once.  Using a smaller cutter, make an opening in the center of half of the cut-outs.  Place biscuits onto the prepared sheets and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


Bake biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are just beginning to turn color at the edges but still pale.  (If desired, remove the cookies from the oven about 2 minutes before they are done and sprinkle the top halves with sugar, then return to the oven to finish baking.)  Remove from the oven, let biscuits sit on the tray a few minutes to firm up, then transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack.


Once cooled, turn the whole biscuits over upside down and top the middle of each with a dollop of jam (or other filling), spreading it slightly but not quite to the edge. Top each with a biscuit that has an opening and gently press together.  Enjoy!






36 comments:

  1. Ain't these biscuits adorable! I used to love this as the cheesecake crust...so good!

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    1. Shortbread crust on a cheesecake makes total sense. I was watching a show featuring a dessert like that and it had lemon curd in it...how perfect is that!

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  2. These are so pretty and I LOVE your tea cups and plates!! Also love the idea of making some of these with Nutella :)

    Sues

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    1. Thank you very much. My son sure is a fan of the Nutella twist.

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  3. These are so perfect!! They are just beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, Ashley. Great excuse to make more cookies. I mean...biscuits!

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  4. wow! nice great. Thank you for providing this post.I hope more and more from you. write a paper

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  5. Your cookies are fantastic - the dough looks absolutely amazing! What a fun trip with the family and I love that you recreated your afternoon tea. Since I started working from home, afternoon tea is a daily event, even though I don't have cookies like these to enjoy. You're such a great mom - and I hope you'll share some photos of your trip!

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    1. Hi Tricia! The proper/full-on afternoon tea at F&M was amazing. All the proper tea accoutrements with 3 tiers of finger sandwiches, scones (so good!) and mini desserts - then, there was the dessert trolley to sample more from if you had room. It was quite a treat. This doesn't begin compare but it was certainly inspired by it. : ) Hope you're having a great week. It's fun to go on vacation and then to reminisce about it, isn't it. : )

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  6. The cookies look perfect! I was just thinking that they look very much like the Linzer Torte cookies I make around Christmas time and then I saw you mentioned that too. :) And London! How I wish I was there right now... I love it so!

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    1. Linzer torte cookies are amazing with the almond/nut meal, too. Yes, would love to be back in London, too. : )

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  7. Monica, you have gone all out on these cookies. So delectable and perfect for a spring brunch or high tea!

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    1. Thanks - so loving the tea theme right now.

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  8. Oh Monica, these cookies, I mean biscuits are so cute...so delicate. They sure go along great with a cup of tea...thanks for the recipe...I just need the patience to make it...
    Have a wonderful week ahead :)

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    1. You're right, Juliana. As easy as these recipes are really, it does take a certain amount of patience that I have to admit I don't have sometimes either. : ) It's good to be motivated though and I was happy for this inspiration.

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  9. Love how pretty and delish these jam filled cookies look. My daughter love jam cookies and after seeing your post she wants me to make them for her. Can't wait to try these cute things for her. Thank you for lovely recipe.

    Anu
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. Isn't that sweet! Thanks, Anu. Hope you make some jam cookies with your daughter soon and enjoy them together. : )

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  10. I love a Jammy Dodger and I bet homemade ones are so good!

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    1. I want to try a packet of them. : ) Thanks, Caroline.

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  11. Linzer cookies have long been a very very favorite of mine! I've never heard of jammy dodgers before (so interesting!) but now I sooo need to give these a try! And what a cool experience with the tea!

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    1. I know we both love anything with almonds/nuts...but these simple shortbread cookies are great, too. Something about the simplicity of butter and sugar...and I really like the texture from using powdered sugar.

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  12. I've never had a proper afternoon tea but this certainly sounds like a great experience. The jammy dodgers look delicious. I bet the Nutella ones were delicious too. London is on my bucket list.

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    1. Cheri, I never had a proper tea until now. What a game changer. I didn't know the food could be so good. The atmosphere was just so relaxing and pretty. I highly recommend a trip to London soon. : )

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  13. Yummy ! so delicious !

    https://darlingkilledmyunicorn.blogspot.fr/

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  14. This is a great homage to afternoon tea and you are right to call that a successful bake! Your biscuits are perfect. It's so nice to learn more about you (your life in HK - such an exciting city). I really enjoyed this post :)

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    1. Thanks so much. I was born in HK and we moved to the States when I was 8. I hanker after a lot of British snacks and eats, and adore many British-Chinese hybrid foods. : ) I'm glad you enjoyed this...always appreciate your kind words. xo

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  15. I love the simplicity of this recipe. They look buttery and delicious!

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    1. Thanks, Bal. I think the basic combination of butter and sugar can be so perfect sometimes. : )

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  16. So fun that you guys went to London! It's one of our favorite cities that we'd love to go back to one day. And these cookies are just beautiful, Monica! I love jam filled cookies and wish I had a dozen with my tea right now :)

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    1. Yes, what a beautiful city London is! We had a great time...the little man didn't want to come home. Glad you like the cookies...I get nervous making anything that needs to be rolled out/shaped but these were simple. Hope your week is going well, Kelly.

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  17. Love Jammy Dodgers!Your variations are so lovely and the trip sounds wonderful. I hope you can visit Sydney one day. I can't speak enough of how gorgeous the afternoon tea culture over here is. Wouldn't it be amazing to catch up over tea and biscuits?

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    1. That sounds wonderful. I'm sure Sydney is beautiful with amazing food...just don't know if I can survive the travel. Every flight I take (however long) I say is the uppermost limit of what I can/want to do nowadays. : )

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  18. These are so pretty! I'd like one of each please. Hope to get to London someday too!

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    1. It's fun to make a "pretty" cookie once in a while. : ) London was lovely; I'm sure you'll find your way there one day.

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