Hello Koala fans!
One of the things people often ask me is why I bake when it’s often easier and cheaper just to get things from the supermarket. I’ve mentioned a few of those reasons in the About section but mainly I run this blog because I find baking enjoyable and because I never know what my creations will turn out like. For example, a couple of weeks back, my sister mentioned that she liked Jammie Dodgers. I don’t mind them myself but there’s nothing particularly special about them. The “jam” in the centre often seems more like glue than something that used to contain fruit. With this in mind, I thought I’d have a try at making my own version and see how they stack up against the supermarket version.
The recipe comes from one of those dirt cheap baking books that you see in bookshops for a couple of pounds, so I don’t think I’ll get in too much trouble if I “borrow” the recipe. The book in question is part of a series by Good Eating, with this particular one being “Baking”.
To give you the full list:
- 225 grams butter – slightly softened
- 140 grams caster sugar
- 1 egg – separated into yolk and white
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 280 grams of plain flour
And for the filling:
- 55 grams of butter – softened
- 100 grams icing sugar
- 5 tbsp of whatever flavour jam you like =3
The first step is to get all your ingredients weighed out and prepared; we’ll be starting with the biscuits themselves.
You’re aiming to make a sort of cookie dough with the first set of ingredients beginning by beating the butter and caster sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy:
Once you’ve creamed together the butter and sugar, tip in the vanilla extract and the egg yolk:
When I’m cooking, I usually try to go for local goods or organic stuff. There is a definite improvement in taste and it’s generally better for the environment. That said, if genetic engineering wants to come up with an egg that only contains white and another that only contains yolk, I won’t quibble too much. Separating can be an awfully messy process.
Once the egg has been added, fold in the flour a little bit at a time. Doing it this way means you won’t get any huge clumps of flour and a more even dough mix. Once the dough looks about ready, divide it in half and wrap each ball in clingfilm. Put the dough in the fridge for an hour or so, along with any lippy kitchen assistants you may have.
The dough should be fairly firm by now and ready to be rolled out into biscuits. Although the Koala is my main assistant in the kitchen, for particularly complex tasks, I have to seek outside assistance:
My rather adorable 2 year old niece helped me cut out the biscuit bases and did a sterling job of it. Thinking about it, if you’re looking to introduce your own kids to the fun world of baking, this isn’t a bad recipe to start off with.
This is where it starts to get a little complicated. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5/ 180 C and give it about 15 mins to warm up. Stamp out the rest of the biscuits while you wait. Put the bases in the oven for 15 minutes, turning if needed.
With the rings, put them in for 7 minutes. Take them out and then brush them with the egg white and sprinkle a little sugar over the top of them. Once that’s done, back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes.
Once the baking is done, it’s time to start working on assembly. As you’ve probably gathered from the ingredient list for the filling, these jam rings have icing in the centre, unlike most Jammie Dodgers. It depends which brand you like. Mix the icing sugar and butter together until its as light and whippy as you can make it. I found spreading it on the biscuits was a pain in the butt; however it was slightly easier using a palette knife.
Warm the jam up slightly so that it’s easier to spoon onto the icing. You don’t need to measure this, just trust your own judgement. Once the jam is on, quickly press a ring over the whole lot and you should end up with something similar to the picture above.
I split the biscuits in half – one batch for my sister, one batch for mum, dad and myself. Our batch was gone in 2 days; I’m not sure how long my sister’s batch lasted. It’s probably just pride talking but I vastly prefer the homemade sort to the supermarket jam rings. The biscuit is richer and slightly softer and the icing and jam go fantastically together. I think my sister enjoyed her batch as well but were they good enough to make her swear off the supermarket version? We’ll see….