Traditional food – the food we grew up eating – always tastes better at Christmastime. Homemade Newfoundland Jam Jams, a molasses and jam sandwich cookie, is 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!
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.
Leaving behind friends and family was something I had mentally prepared for. Leaving behind my school and my teachers was also a given. I just had no idea 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. I would never again pick wild blueberries. I would never again see a real snow storm or blizzard. I would never again experience packing firewood in the basement for the winter. 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.
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.
If memory serves me correctly, the original Jam Jams are sandwiched with an apple-raspberry filling. For my recipe, I’m using partridge berry jam that was given to me by the lovely Tammy Richards. (She’s McKenna’s best friend Maddi’s mom. 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 partridge berry 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.
If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to check out the other cookies in my 24 Cookies of Christmas series. The cookies are listed below. Just click on the name of the cookie to be redirected to that particular recipe post. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a cookie that uses a spice that I feel is not used enough in baking and has a very unique and distinct flavour. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: Since all of the 24 Cookies of Christmas have now been published, I’ve compiled the complete list for you right here!
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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.
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