As my friends and family will confirm, I'm an Anglophile. I was up at 5 a.m. to watch the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (better known as William and Kate), and I know that, technically, the British flag is only the "Union Jack" when it's flown at sea. From Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling, Colin Firth to "Doctor Who," I love it all.
So when I realized that my Tribune Cooks feature was going to fall during the Olympic Games in London, I knew that I wanted to make something British. And what's more British than tea and biscuits? (That's cookies to us Yanks.)
With a nod of thanks to Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, the London-born inventor of the World Wide Web, I scoured the Internet for the quintessential British biscuit recipe. I finally settled on the jammie dodger, a shortbread cookie with a jam filling that is one of Britain's most popular sweet treats.
A plate of jammie dodgers and a cup of tea are the perfect snack for watching the Olympic Games in London.
My next task was to find a recipe that used American measurements, because no matter how enthusiastic I am about things British, my oven doesn't go to "gas mark 4."
With a suitable recipe in hand, I put the Games on TV and got to work. Not for the first time, I found myself lamenting the size of my small apartment kitchen as I tried to roll out dough using my limited counter space, and I had to transport my cookies to another room to cool once they came out of the oven.
But all's well that ends well, and if I do say so myself, the jammie dodgers are one of the nicest-looking cookies I've ever made.
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated or superfine sugar
2 large eggs
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, or seedless strawberry jam
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt: add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition until blended. Stir in vanilla extract.
Divide dough into four equal portions; wrap each portion in plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Chill.
Roll cookie dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place on greased baking sheets. Cut center from half of cookies with a 1-inch round or heart-shaped cutter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Spread 1/2 teaspoon seedless raspberry jam on solid cookies; top with cutout cookies.
From Diana's Desserts, www.dianasdesserts.com
To cut down on clean-up, I rolled out the cookie dough on parchment paper and lined my cookie sheets with it as well. After I was done baking, all I had to do was throw away the paper and let my cookie sheets cool before I put them away.
The recipe claims to yield two dozen cookies, but I don't know what size cookie cutter they were using because I easily got four dozen. I was also generous with the raspberry jam and went through a jar and a half.
My usual gluten-free disclaimer applies - I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour and a teaspoon of xantham gum to make the recipe celiac-friendly.
I was very pleased with the resulting cookie. Not only did it look good (and evoked the Olympics with its ring shape) but the shortbread was soft and buttery and the jam added a tasty tartness.
With a plate of these jammie dodgers and a cuppa tea in my "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug, I'm now ready to watch the Olympic Games in true British style.