Traditional recipes can be passed down from generation to generation, or it can simply be the food we grew up with. Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams are both! They are eaten year round in Newfoundland, but to me, they always taste better at Christmastime. There is nothing that can beat this homestyle molasses and jam sandwich cookie – no exception!
Welcome back, Dear Reader! Today we are talking about the eleventh cookie in Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series. This particular cookie sums up my childhood and almost every memory I have of store-bought baked goods. Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams are a replica of the Purity brand found on Newfie grocery store shelves. But this one is better!
CHANGE CAN BE GOOD AND BAD
You know, we all grow up and leave home at some point; some of us earlier than others. When I was quite young, my parents relocated from Newfoundland to Ontario. It was quite the adjustment, let me tell you! From a town of 500 or so to a town of 3,500 was a big change.
Now, looking back at it, the change wasn’t so dramatic. But, at the age of 12, and not ever seeing any other parts of the world, it didn’t seem like that at the time. There was so many firsts – the first time on a plane, the first time in a coffee shop, the first time being able to have pizza delivered, and the first time being able to walk to a shopping mall.
Not all change means new things though. There are some things brought by change that are not welcomed. For me, it was the things that I had to say good bye to that bothered me the most. I’m a traditionalist; I’m a lover and supporter of routine and preserving normalcy. Change of location does away with routine and normalcy.
DON’T TAKE THE SMALL THINGS FOR GRANTED
Leaving behind friends and family was something I had mentally prepared for. Leaving behind my school and my teachers was also a given. It never dawned on me that I would be leaving behind the things that I had taken for granted my entire life.
I would never again live beside the ocean. Neither would I ever again pick wild blueberries. I’d never again see a real snow storm or blizzard. Packing firewood into the basement for winter would be a thing of the past. I would never again prepare for an annual bonfire night. I would never again catch fish off the dock or snare rabbits in the fall. The list goes on and on.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
JAM JAMS ARE A NEWFOUNDLAND STAPLE
Little did I know at the time that I would also miss out on some of the traditional food items that we would eat regularly. Jam Jams was one such food. I loved Jam Jams; they were a Purity Ltd. Product and my mom would purchase them quite often. They are basically a molasses cookie that has been sandwiched with jam.
Many years later, the same Purity-prepared Jam Jams began turning up in regular stores in Ontario. I can now purchase them at some grocery stores, and even a few Wal-Mart’s here in Canada stock them. But, the problem is, they don’t taste the same as I remember.
Did the recipe change? Are they using ingredients from different suppliers? Did my tastes change over the years? Who knows! I do, however, know this – my dad makes the best Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams that I’ve ever tasted; far better than the store-bought kind. This recipe is as close to his as I can get it.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Brown Sugar – First of all, it has way more flavour than regular white sugar! And, in this recipe, brown sugar helps to keep the cookie moist and soft.
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Egg – One large egg is all you need. Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Molasses – This gorgeous, sticky, sweet concoction is basically just boiled cane sugar. When baking, the best molasses to fancy molasses. Stay away from dark or blackstrap molasses unless instructed otherwise. Fancy molasses is a light molasses.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Salt – This is a common ingredient in baking and cooking. In baking it helps to enhance and balance sweetness. In cooking it helps to bring out natural flavours in things like vegetables.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It’s uses in frostings quite often. When dusted lightly onto cakes and cookies, it adds just a touch of sweetness, but more importantly, it looks very visually appealing!
- Your favourite jam!
THE CHOICE OF JAM FILLING IS YOURS
If memory serves me correctly, the original Jam Jams are sandwiched with an apple-raspberry filling. For my recipe, I’m using partridgeberry jam that was given to me by the lovely Tammy Richards. (Tammy is Maddi’s mom. Maddi and McKenna are best friends. They live in Newfoundland.) Tammy visited this past summer and brought me the jam, along with dried capelin, but that’s a story for later.
I believe that partridgeberry jam is native to Newfoundland, so unless you’re living in Newfoundland, or know someone that is, getting your hands on some of that jam might prove to be a little challenging. No worries, you can make this with a store-bought raspberry jam right from the jar.
Let’s get to the recipe. Before we do, I just want to make note that the dusting of powdered sugar that you see on some of the Jam Jams is not traditional. It’s something that I like to do to add visual appeal to the cookie. You can leave the powdered sugar off if you’d like.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 5-7 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh, and be just as soft, as the day you first baked them.
Here’s a tip – if you do freeze them, only remove the amount you need from the fridge. Place them on a cooling rack in a single layer and they will thaw nicely. If you plan to decorate them with confectioner’s sugar, do so before you eat them. Traditionally, they do not have any decoration at all, but I like things to be extra pretty!
Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup jam, (or jelly)
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, optional
- In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to cream together the brown sugar and the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and beat into the butter mixture.
- Next, beat in the molasses.
- Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat into the butter and molasses mixture just until incorporated.
- Wrap dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the cookie dough to 1/4 inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter, about 2 inches in diameter, to cut out the cookies.
- Cut another circle right in the middle of every second cookie. I like to use one of the tips from my cake decorating tools for this.
- Transfer 6 whole cookies and 6 cookies with a hole in the middle to a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven immediately flip the whole cookies over with a spatula. You want the flat side facing up.
- Spoon about two teaspoons of jam onto each whole cookie and spread it out, but not to the edge.
- Place one cookie with the hole in the middle onto the top of each cookie that has been smeared with jam. Press down gently to seal.
- Place the cookies back into the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool.
- Once cooled, I dusted half of the cookies with confectioner’s sugar. This is completely optional. It just creates some contrast and adds to the look and feel of Christmas.