We were just returning from a weekend trip to Toronto. One of our Candian friends tied the knot and another Canadian friend, let’s just call him Daven for the purpose of this story, just got engaged. In addition to attending these two events, the 6 of us managed to fit so much more in a weekend. Must be that Candian Time conversion.
-Daven’s mom made us the most amazing garlic noodles for lunch upon our arrival
-We took a short road trip to Niagara Falls and I was permitted to sing the whole way there.
-We tasted ice wines in casual clothing – much less pretentious than the west coast wineries
-We survived the arctic freeze that pervaded Daven’s parents’ basement
-We discovered Tim Horton’s coffee and more importantly, their egg salad sandwiches and we paid for everything in loonies and toonies.
The return trip however, was a different story. It started at the airport. Five of us passed through customs like normal people. Daven on the other hand was held back in customs/immigration. We were afraid that the engagement would have to continue long distance, we feared, permanently. What seemed like only seconds before boarding we finally saw Daven walking toward us, bags in hand with the familiar look of relief…(stress relief, i mean, not the bowel movement variety).
Then it turns out the flights were overbooked. The airline offered $200 vouchers each to give up our seats on an overbooked flight. After having such a great weekend, we decided that we would all take the voucher and do this all over again in the future! Sounding better so far. Then the new flight was delayed. A lot. Then we ended up taking a different flight with a stop. On the layover, due to some airport construction, we had to walk in the rain to our second flight. The whole scenario was weird and we were all getting cranky and greasy. We finally arrived back in Dallas late at night, only to learn that our luggage didn’t arrive with us. All of that, paired with the Monday workday dread put us in a foul mood.
There was one saving grace. Before we left Toronto in a mad rush, our friend’s mom handed us a few snacks as all Indian moms do. “Take these. You’ll get hungry.” And she passed us a box of store bought cookies. Jamtop cookies. It was on the second flight that we started passing these around and momentarily, we could get forget our first world problems in a cookie.
These timeless cookies will forever remind me of our Toronto adventures. It’s a simple shortbread butter cookie but it’s the adorning dot of jam that keeps my loyalty. Jamtop cookies, more popularly known as Jam Thumbprint cookies or Jam Filled Cookies.
Jam Thumbprint or Jelly Tots recipe from The Joy of Cooking with a few personal notes in italics
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature (i prefer salted)
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of strawberry jam/preserves or the flavor of your choice
1. Cream together butter and sugar. Then add vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt
2. Form into a flat, round disc. Chill the dough for 3-4 hrs or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven for 375. Using a 1-in diameter scoop, form the dough into 1-in balls. Roll them in sugar.
4. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on greased or lined cookie sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for five minutes. Depress the center of each cookie with a thimble or your thumb. Don’t use your thumb…that’s gross. No one wants to eat your thumb-jam. I used a thimble and wallowed out the well a little more because I like extra jam. 🙂 Continue baking until lightly brown, about 8 mins.
5. After removing from the oven, I re-depressed the centers to get maximum jam volume.
Let stand briefly. When cool, Fill the center of the each cookie with jam/preserves immediately after removing from the oven. I filled a Ziploc bag with jam and cut a small hole at the corner to pipe it in. MUCH easier.
You can add orange zest or cinnamon or allspice to the dough. You can also add a different extract, such as Anise Extract. The recipe is really good at yielding to your liking! Play!
You can actually bake the cookies pre-filled with jam after the first five mins of baking. This will yield a chewier jam center, but you cannot pipe as much jam because the jam will bubble over during the rest of the bake. The jam must be sub-flush (recessed) into the cookie to prevent bubbling over. Alternatively, I just pipe the jam immediately after the full bake, so that the jam warms and cools to yield a semi-chewy consistency. Either way, no one will complain. 🙂 Who frowns when they see a cookie? Unless they are allergic to cookie?