Saturday, January 10, 2009

Be sweet

Making shortbread

With a friend coming over for afternoon tea today, I decided to make some shortbread using my friend Julie's grandmother's recipe (which my mum got off Julie and wrote down for me. Confused? Me too).

I made pretty star shapes, and they were great, but towards the end of the rolling and cookie cutting, I got bored and suddenly had an idea. When mum had sampled Julie's shortbread just before Christmas, she realised they were the same shortbread her mum (my Oma) used, only with jam cooked into the top. Every couple of years when we were kids, Oma would travel up to Townsville on the train to visit, and would bring with her a couple of tins of jam biscuits. They were so delicious. I still remember them.

So with the rest of the dough I made jam biscuits. They disappeared really quickly today (when Mr QM found them) so I made some more.

Jam shortbread

Jam shortbread

250 g butter
120 g caster sugar
340 g plain flour, sifted
Jam (I used four berries and homemade apricot jams)

Cream the butter and sugar then fold in the flour. Leaving the crumbly dough in the bowl, shape the dough with your hands until it sticks together. Scoop out tablespoons of dough, form into a ball shape and place on the baking tray. Press down gently to flatten the top, and press your thumb into the top of the biscuit to make a well.

When all the biscuits are on the baking trays, place a small dollop of jam in the well of each biscuit. Don't put too much in or you'll have a volcanic eruption! But it is nice to have a little jam flowing over as it cooks.

Cook for 25 minutes in 150 degree (C) oven or until they have a nice pale colour about them. Check the biscuits every 10 minutes to check that they aren't getting too dark.

Carefully transfer biscuits to a cooling rack, and cool completely before eating. Trust me on this - you don't want a boiling jam biscuit anywhere near your mouth (or your fingers!)

Oma used to make hers a lot flatter, but I have a problem with space in my oven so decided to go for the chunky biscuit so I could get more on a tray.

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Yes, this does appear to have become a food blog. Maybe I should change the name of it to "Cookingmick". Or not. I think this will be my last post for a while - I need a break while I get back into the routine of working and playing. Also I seem to have developed an addiction to swimming laps at the local pool. The other day I was there at 6.10 am, which is the time all the other swimming addicts turn up, and I have to say, it wasn't pretty. The fast lane swimmers were all in the medium lane, and the swimming club people were all gossiping in the fast lanes. The medium lane was so fast I couldn't keep up and ended up in the leisurely lane. Those 6 am people are WEIRD. With a capital W.

Judy Horacek

Hi, my name is Michelle and it's been 9 hours since my last swim.

(Cartoon by Judy Horacek - she's obviously swum at the Dickson Pool)


  1. they look gorgeous. The recipe is going into my 'make soon' file.

  2. Mmm, they do look nice - my Mama used to put lemon curd in them too... I really MUST get my oven fixed!

  3. I love jam drop biscuits. Perfect for my new batch of homemade apricot jam. I'm printing that one straight away for the recipe folder!
    Hey, your sifter matches my mums new saucepan.... freaky

  4. oh yum - thanks for the recipe. And did you know judy H lives in the inner north so it is very very likely that was the exact place she was talking about. 6.10am- absurd! that is why they are all weird. how weird will you be if you keep this up?

  5. oh and I will miss your blogging very much. I hope it is too long a break.

  6. You're making me hungry.

    Nice cartoon. I often feel as if I'm in the general bewilderment lane. :)

  7. ah lap swimming. finding a good lane should be an olympic sport in itself. if its not the oldies its the people who think they're elite athletes! i used to love the 8-9 slot at CISAC, i miss that place. good luck with finding your routine, maybe send some of it my way when you do....

  8. Loving the food posts! Hope you won't be gone for too long!

  9. I used to work the morning shift at a pool. If we were even a minute late opening the 6am crew would be belting on the front doors. They are weird alright. But who isn't hey?

    Come back to blogging soon.

  10. They look delicious Michelle. Jam drops are such pretty biscuits.

    I'm quite jealous of your flour sifter as well. My Mum has (or had... not sure if she still has it) one and I love it.

  11. I was thinking about making shortbread today - someone gave us some at christmas time, but it inexplicably disappeared, eaten by cats/dog/D'Arcy...

    And like Knitting Sprouts said Judy H is a local, so wouldn't be surprised if she is at laest familiar with Dicko. I'm sure I'll be there over the next couple of days as the temperature gets ridiculous!

  12. Mmmm, I love jam biscuits! Its going in my "make soon" file too.

    Im so imnpressed (and more than a little envious) you're keeping up the morning swims.

  13. OH! I loooove chortbread! How awesome, thanks for that. But what is caster sugar?

  14. Wow! Um...yum! Your shortbread & jam biscuits makes me want to bake, NOW!

  15. Sitting here reading your blog and thinking my husband would really love those biscuits. My grandma & mum used to make jam drops. I love the recipes.

  16. Ah, the politics of the lanes! I used to swim competitively as a kid, and although I'm nowhere near fast lane form, some things never leave you.

    Strangely though, when I was in London I used to swim in the local sports centre pool (called the Queen Mother Leisure Centre). Anyway, I started my first trip in the slow lane (where I usually belong in Australia).

    Well bugger me if I wasn't Olympian standard compared to the rest of them! What a self-esteem boost.

    At 6:10am at our local council pool there are NO public lanes, as the swim squad books the whole pool. Isn't that criminal?

    Swimming is so relaxing, and good for your body as well! (So I've heard anyway .. no recent personal experience).

  17. Ohhh.. those shortbread and jam cookies sound yummy! Glad to hear you're enjoying your swimming. I'm dying to get back in a pool.

  18. That is a fantastic addiction to have! Ever so slightly healthier than my current addiction to chocolate and butterscotch cupcakes!


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