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Unless you live under a rock somewhere out in East Bumblefuck you must have heard that London’s lauded fashion haven TOPSHOP, opened last week to multi-million dollar business and mobs of people queuing up for blocks, waiting in line for hours, just to go shopping (and meet Kate Moss).
The Dinner Belle catered the four-day launch event, baking British cookies by the hundreds-of-dozens to be distributed to hungry, dedicated shoppers enduring the lines for the sheer love of spring fashion. We turned out thousands each of heart-shaped Jammy Dodgers, Cheesy Biscuits and Strawberry & Cream Stuffed Scones to keep shoppers sated. Cigar girls toting boxes filled not with nicotine laden fire-ups, but The Dinner Belle’s sweet treats, kept queuers at bay outside, while inside the store, tiers of scones were plated during meet-and-greet sessions with Ms. Moss.
I used to live in London and can attest to just how fantastic TOPSHOP is. Does that mean I’d wait it line for hours to get in on opening weekend, no! But then again, I didn’t have to, because for four consecutive mornings Erin and I were toting boxes of jam filled confections to Soho at dawn. I can’t say this was a joyous job, but 7,000 cookies later, I’m still craving those goddamn jammy dodgers.
If you missed the launch but want in on the dodger action, the recipe below reveals the secret to these sandwich cookies. Having never made them before this event, I did a bit of research and based my recipe on the British version found here. They are a bit like shortbread linzer tortes and are a welcome seasonal treat with spring’s first raspberries right around the corner.
Within the month, farmers’ markets will be flush with berries of all varieties, from which you can make your own jam or berry sauce to sandwich between cookies or smear on scones. If muffins are more to your liking, try my recipe for jumbo blueberry muffins sprinkled with brown sugar crumb topping. Any way you slice it, breakfasts and desserts on menus and in kitchens all across town are sure to be filled with berries for weeks to come.
Jammy Dodgers (makes 36 cookies)
- 2 cups unsalted Butter (softened)
- 1 cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
- 2 large Eggs
- 7 ½ cups AP Flour
- 4 t Baking Powder
- 1 t Salt
- ¼ cup Milk
- 1 TB Vanilla Extract
- ½ Lemon (juiced)
- ¼ cup Raspberry 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 4 equal portions; wrap each portion in plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Chill for about an hour and then roll out cookie dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough with a jumbo heart-shaped cookie cutter, and place hearts on greased baking sheets, or baking sheets lined with silpats. Then from half the heart-shaped cookies, cut out the centers with a smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter (these will be the cookie sandwich tops).
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Place the jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is combined and slightly runny. Spread ½ teaspoon raspberry jam on solid cookies; top with cutout cookies and sandwich together.
When I made these suckers for Topshop we couldn’t risk the cookie sandwiches coming “unglued” so I made a batch of royal icing to help secure the top of the cookie to the bottom. Just put the royal icing in a piping bag secured with a tiny tip (or use a freezer bag and cut a small opening at the corner) and line each sandwich top with icing, before pressing it atop the jam smeared sandwich bottom. I always use the classic Joy of Baking recipe for royal icing. If you’ve never worked with it before, royal icing is a confectioner’s sugar based icing that is sticky like Elmer’s glue and dries hard like rubber cement. It’s what gets used on gingerbread houses and fancy Christmas cookies with delicate detailing, and it tastes as sweet as can be. I actually think the sweetness is a welcome pairing with the tart, lemon-infused raspberry jam used in the dodgers.