Jammie Dodgers are the quintessential biscuit barrel favourite, bested only by Custard Creams and Bourbon Creams: two vanilla biscuits sammidged together with tooth fusingly chewy ‘fruit-flavour’ jam. They are the business, so how awesome is it that they can be made very easily at home?
This is a nice, simple recipe to have up your sleeve, the only downside is that they are quite time consuming; there’s a lot of waiting involved, but it’s the same with any kind of sandwich biscuit (make the dough, chill the dough, cut the biscuits, bake them, cool them, make filling and then sandwich, there's a lot involved; but it's all worth it). You can use any good biscuit recipe, as long as the recipe yields dough that doesn’t change its shape much in the oven: for example, shortbread would work well, or any plain cut-out biscuit recipe would be fine, too.
The key to this recipe is the jam you use. Whether it’s blackcurrant, raspberry, strawberry, or whatever, make sure it has a nice high fruit content. I use jam that is about 60 percent fruit, as this makes the jam full of flavour without being sickly sweet, as you need to add a little sugar later to make it the appropriate stickiness. More on the jam later!
For the biscuits, I used this almond shortbread recipe:
For the biscuits
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) caster sugar
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) butter
- 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
- 4 ounces (115 grammes) spelt flour
- 2 ounces (55 grammes) ground almonds
- Pinch of salt
For the jam
- 4 to 5 ounces (115 to 140 grammes) good quality jam
- 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) cornflour
- 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) cold water
First, make the biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F, Gas Mark 2½, very moderate).
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla essence.
- Mix in the dry ingredients and form into a soft dough.
- Unlike the usual kinds of shortbread biscuits, this dough has to rolled and cut-out before chilling in the fridge. This mixture is too delicate to be chilled beforehand, as it just crumbles because of the ground almonds.
- Roll to ⅛ inch thick (3 or 4 millimetres) and cut out with a 2 inch (5 centimetre) round, fluted cutter. Using an icing nozzle or small circle cutter ½ inch wide (1 centimetre), punch small holes out of the centres of half the biscuits. Re roll the trimmings and continue making until you have an equal quantity of full and ring-shaped biscuits.
- Lie them on a flat surface, such as a baking tray, and chill uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Take the biscuits out of the fridge and arrange 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart on baking trays lined with non-stick paper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make jam filling
- Press the jam through a sieve to remove any pips or tough skins. Put the jam in a small saucepan.
- In a glass, mix the sugar, water, and cornflour into a paste. Add this to the jam.
- Cook the jam gently until it begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then sandwich the biscuits together – one full, one ring – with a teaspoon of jam filling.
This whole recipe yields 16 to 18 sandwiches (32 to 36 little biscuits in total). If you want to make them look more like the shop-bought ones, you can sprinkle the little jammie windows with granulated sugar and tip off the excess. These are nice and crunchy the day they're made, but the day after they soften up a little as the biscuit absorbs the moisture from the jam, and this is perfectly normal.