I was inspired to make my own version of jammie dodgers after reading Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. I have made many a linzer cookie, traditional Christmas treats from Austria. These are British year-round versions. I use whatever jam I happen to have. These were made with a spiced blueberry jam.
On the Page
I already mentioned I was inspired to bake these after reading Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. This was a somewhat twisty, creepy psychological thriller set in the wilds of Scotland. Adam and Amelia have won an overnight trip to a (barely) renovated church in the Scottish Highlands. Adam isn't wholly likeable. He's a workaholic, narcissistic screenwriter with prosopagnosia, face-blindness. He cannot distinguish features on faces, including recognizing his own wife.
Amelia is set-up as a neglected wife who works at an animal shelter. There is also a third narrator called Robin, but her identity is kept secret until the end of the book. There are twists and turns that had me stumped and frustrated that loose ends would remain untethered. The other challenge: I didn't really like any of the characters.
There wasn't a lot of food in the book. But Robin definitely had me chuckling about Spaghetti-Os - or hoops as they call them in the book. "Robin snaffled the last pint of milk, some cheese, some matches, candles, and six tins of Heinz spaghetti hoops. She had at least twenty tins of Heinz baked beans at home already, and a cupboard full of nothing but Del Monte tinned mandarins, along with enough cartons of long-life milk to hydrate a primary school. Her dietary choices are nothing to do with the storm. Robin likes tinned food. And she likes to always have enough of it neatly stacked at home, to know that she wouldn’t starve anytime soon."
On the Plate
But it was her packaged cookies that inspired me. "She misses her pipe but that’s gone now, so she opens a packet of Jammie Dodgers. The dog lies down by her side resting his chin on her legs, staring up at her while she eats, hoping she might drop something. Robin likes to nibble each biscuit, biting off tiny pieces of the outer edges until only the jam center is left—making the pleasure it brings her last as long as possible." Jammie Dodgers it was!
3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), slightly softened
1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
1/4 cup organic powdered sugar + more for finishing
2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
jam for filling
Also needed: cookie cutters in two different sizes to make the base and the window
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with an hand mixer until lightened and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then fold in the flour, cardamom, and black pepper until it comes together as a ball. Some recipes said to chill the dough, mine was plenty stiff, so I just rolled them out.
Roll the dough out (I did mine in two batches) on a lightly floured surface. You want to try for between 1/4" and 1/2" thick.
Use a scalloped circle to cut the dough. Re-roll the extras until you are out of dough. For half of the rounds, cut another, smaller circle in the middle to form a window. You'll want to have even numbers of tops to bottoms. Place the cookies on a parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. You want the cookies firm, but not too browned.
Allow the biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble, dust the cooled cookies with the cutouts with powdered sugar. This is key! Once I dusted with powdered sugar after assembling them and you lose that dramatic contrast between the dark jam and white cookie.
Add a dollop of jam to the full rounds and sandwich the cookies together.