Daily Archives: July 11, 2011

Vintage Recipe Swap – Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Molasses Jam Cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies with Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam

I love the food-blogging community.  For the past few months I’ve been taking part in a Vintage Recipe Swap with Burwell General Store.  We’re sent a recipe and have to alter at least three things about it, then blog our creations on the same day.  I am always incredibly impressed with what the other bloggers post.  They’re truly inspiring, culinary masters that I have so much to learn from.  Please check out their sites (links at the bottom of this post).

This month’s swap is a Jelly Cake.  Check it out:

After my disappointment with last month’s Baked Potato Cakes I knew I wanted to make something decadent this month.  Something that would take some planning and patience and love.

This recipe is wonderfully simple in theory – two cakes sandwiched with jelly.  And I loved that the second cake was spicy with cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

So I decided to make only a slight variation on this classic idea with an easy blueberry jam nested in the middle of gluten-free ginger molasses cookies.  I love how versatile and mobile cookies are.  And while lying in bed, sleepless, one night, I thought how I could try the jam between two round cookies and also try it with the raw dough pocketing it before baking, much like an Italian or Polish pastry cookie.

It took three days in short bursts to make this recipe, which actually made it more relaxing of a process.  One morning I made the Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam.  I loved the fresh, organic blueberries I found at the market and figured I’d spice them up with a bit of ginger and fresh lime juice and zest.  I also made a smoky blueberry sauce with paprika that I then made into a martini.  Delish.

Smoky Blueberry Martini

The second day I made the cookie dough, then stuck it in the fridge and rolled and baked the next morning.  Fully refrigerating dough is a crucial step when making cutout cookies, especially when they’re gluten-free, in order to keep a clean shape and consistent texture.  In my earlier days I thought I could get around a few steps and still have incredible cookies.  Now I know that refrigerating dough, using parchment paper, keeping my gluten-free flours cool and rolling evenly are important keys to mastering this.

The result is a rich, spicy ginger cookie sweetly flavored with dark molasses.  Making them into pocket cookies yields a softer, pastry-like cookie, whereas the rounds have the perfect amount of gingery jam between.  They have a soft mouth feel, and hit you in two stages – first the spicy ginger cookie, and then the rich jam.  I love them.  Love love love.

Note: In this recipe I’ve measured out my preferred gluten-free flours and added some flax seed meal for fiber (it also helps baked goods gel a little bit more too).  All that’s important is that you have three cuts of gluten-free flour.  I recommend keeping your flours in the fridge as they stay fresher longer – it also helps when making a pastry like a cookie that needs to stay tight.  I also usually refrain from mixes that are high in potato flour or starch and only use one kind of flour – usually white rice.  Check out my gluten-free flour blends page for more ideas.

Another note: I used two types of molasses and maple syrup because I had small amounts of each and like using what you’ve got instead of purchasing excess.  Just make sure you have 3/4 a cup of molasses.

Buen provecho!

Sandwich and Pocket cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup unsulfered dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg

Directions

  • In a small bowl, sift together the flours, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and xanthan gum
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add molasses and maple syrup and beat to combine.
  • Add egg and beat to combine.
  • Slowly add in flour until combined.
  • Divide in half, flatten into disks and individually wrap in plastic.  Set in refrigerator at least two hours or (preferably) overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Flour work surface with rice flour and roll disk to 1/4 inch thick, rotating dough regularly to prevent sticking (re-flour board as necessary). Cut into circles about 1 3/4 inch in diameter.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until still slightly soft on top.  If you prefer crispy cookies, bake for 16 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and flip upside-down on a cool cookie sheet or flat work surface.  With the bottom of a shot glass or a small spoon, press a small circle into the bottom of each cookie.  Allow to cool completely.
  • When cool, fill 1 cookie impression with about a teaspoon of your favorite jam (mine was Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam) and use a second cookie to sandwich, repeating until all are done!

Store in an airtight container (preferably in the refrigerator) until ready to serve.  Alternatively, you can cut squares of dough, fill with jam, and make pocket cookies.  These will be a little softer and cake-like. 

Jam-filled sandwich cookies

Check Out the Other Creations From The Recipe Swappers!

  • CM is our Burwell General Store leader.  A food producer and writer, she’s based out of L.A. and has worked with the Food Network and Saveur, amongst many others.  Those are just my two favorites :)  Her site is, of course, divine.
  • Lindsay puts amazing honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
  • Chef Dennis is veteran chef in his own right.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
  • Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.
  • Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!
  • Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn’t let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her “ubiquitous about page” and the balcony gardening category.
  • Monique has been food blogging since 2007, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie!
  • Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.
  • Jennifer‘s tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it.
  • The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring.
  • Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food.
  • Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.
  • Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!
  • Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed.
  • Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Cindy, food lover, all-around awesome person and her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic. Check out her quirky and fun blog.
  • Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.
  • Nicolle writes the joyful Rhythm of the Seasons from Boulder, Colorado and is looking forward to offering more recipes and menus as the spring, summer and harvest seasons heat up.
  • Linda is a saucy Texan with an encyclopedic knowledge of food. She’s published many cookbooks, won many awards, and has been the source of many belly laughs. When she’s not writing books, her latest creations can be found at Everybody Eats News.
  • Tricia is the founder of Pietopia, an annual pie contest that asks “What does your life taste like, in a pie?” and her beautiful work as an eating designer and blogger can be found at Eating Is Art.
  • Jaclyn is a writer, baker, perpetual daydreamer and the author of the cooking and baking blog Food+Words. She has a degree in Creative Writing and is currently studying Baking and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Jaclyn has a panchant for baking, laughter, a nice glass of Riesling and anything lemony.
  • Merry-Jennifer is a physician, a writer, a wife, a mother of two, and the author of the food blog The Merry Gourmet. She focuses on family-friendly original and adapted recipes – with an occasional cocktail recipe thrown in for balance.
  • Alli has a master’s degree in Nutrition and blogs at An Open Cookbook from Seattle, Washington. We met recently at BlogHer Food in Atlanta, and immediately hit it off. A warm welcome to her!
  • Rachel Saunders is the owner of Blue Chair Fruit and author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. She produces all of her jams and teaches classes from her space in Oakland, California.

Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam and Smoky Blueberry Sauce with the cookies

Nutritional breakdown from Cook, Eat, Share

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Blueberry 3-Way: Ginger Lime Jam, Spicy Syrup and Smoky Blueberry Martini Time!

Blueberry Ginger Jam and Smoky Blueberry Syrup with gluten-free ginger snaps

I love making jam.  A few summers ago I roasted in my kitchen in Queens making batch after batch of jam from peaches I picked on several outings in Connecticut.  The season ended with well over a hundred mason jars of varying sizes and specialties, which my siblings and I packaged with homemade breads and chocolate for our families at Christmas.  It was wonderfully fulfilling.

And hot.  And sticky.  And sometimes infuriating.

So when I picked up a few containers of the most plump looking blueberries the other day, knowing that I have a recipe with jam to make for the Burwell General Store Vintage Recipe Swap, I approached my kitchen with both delight and trepidation.

Problem:  I hate regulating temperature for jam.  Problem:  I hate how much sugar most non-gelatin recipes require and I don’t use artificial sweeteners.  Problem: I have a big writing contract to kick start tonight and don’t have time to swelter in my non-airconditioned kitchen while I constantly check the gelling stage I mastered all those years ago.

Solution! Use the berries three ways to get even more sweet, lip-smacking lusciousness out of them. Straining the jam at the first stage will give me lots of delicious juice for a syrup and the jam can be thickened a bit so the whole shebang can be done quickly.

For the recipe swap I have to make a variation of a jelly cake.  And these swappers don’t mess around, so not only do I want to make something completely homemade and as natural and gluten-free as possible, but I also want to kick things up a notch after my Baked Potato Cake disappointment last month.  So why not use the berries to make jam for the recipe I’m brainstorming, plus make a syrup to infuse into a sweet martini to go alongside?

I’m excited by this.

So this extremely easy recipe makes a Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam, a Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Syrup and a Smoking Blueberry Martini.  Just in time for a just-less-than-sweltering summer night in the city.

Smoky Blueberry Ginger Martini in my sweltering kitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of ripe blueberries, rinsed and de-stemmed
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 5 limes
  • 2 Tbsp freshly zested ginger
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • yummy vodka

Directions

  • Place blueberries and sugar in a thick-bottom pot and place over medium heat.
  • Zest ginger directly in pot, so fine that it almost has the consistency of a paste.
  • When the berries start to bubble a bit, zest two limes directly into pot, and add the juice of those two and a third.
  • Boil until the juice is completely released and the berries are soft.
  • Strain the mixture over a stainless steel bowl until almost all the juice is out but the berries still retain a bit of moisture.  Return berries to pot.
  • Juice the remaining two limes into a bowl and whisk in the tapioca starch until it’s dissolved.
  • Slowly whisk the lime/starch mixture into the blueberries until combined.
  • Remove jam from heat and pour into a stainless steel bowl.  Refrigerate until cooled completely.
  • To the syrup, add the cayenne pepper and whisk to dissolve.  Remove to refrigerator to cool completely.

To make a scrumptious martini: chill a martini glass.  Use a bit of vodka to line the rim of the glass and then dip into white sugar.  Fill with 1 ounce of blueberry syrup and 2 ounces of cold vodka.  Alternatively, place the two in a martini shaker over ice and strain into glass.

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