December 17, 2020

Jim Jams

An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam. 


Every year around Christmas, my Canadian husband will inevitably ask me the same question: Do you know how to make Jim Jams? 

And every year I tell him that I do not. That I have never seen or heard of them and ye ol’ internets fail to provide me with information on them year after year. 

Then he gets this far-off look in his eyes and tells me stories of these cookies his mom always made around Christmas. How she would hide them in the freezer to keep him and his siblings out of them. How he and his brother would sneak down to the cellar and eat them anyway. How they were filled with raspberry jam. How he loved them. 

Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.


When I’d ask his mom how to make them (and her famous Taffy Tarts, aka Butter Tarts) she would explain how in that Silent Generation way which usually went something like, “Oh, it’s just some of this and that and you just keep adding flour until it looks right.” 

In her defense, she would happily have cooked some with me any time over the years but when we get to visit we’re usually too busy catching up and getting into the wine to exact and document family recipes. 

She showed me and my sister-in-law how to make her Taffy Tarts one year but we got to having too much fun to properly record the measurements and baking times and I still can’t tell you how to make them. 

Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.


So anyway, Husband’s Aunt Mary posted a photo of another old-fashioned looking recipe on FB last week and I thought I’d just take the chance and ask about the Jim Jams and Aunt Mary actually had the recipe written on an old recipe card!! 

YEAHHHH!!! Oh, Canada!! It’s not every day you can find an actual, original family recipe written with measurements and instructions! 

I made them the very same day. I had absolutely no idea what they were even supposed to look like, much less how they were supposed to taste but I thought, Screw it, I gotta try! 

Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.


Husband approved and was tickled I made them but I still didn’t know if I made them right. Seriously, imagine trying to cook something you’ve never seen or tasted. I didn’t know how much jam to use, how thick or wide to make the cookies, if they were supposed to be crispy or doughy… nothing! I was totally flying blind. 
 
But then I got my sweet relief the next day because Aunt Mary decided to make some too! When she posted a photo on FB they looked exactly like mine!! The dusting of powdered sugar was my own little spin, but otherwise they were dead ringers! 

Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.


NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

  • This is NOT a sugar bomb cookie so when you taste them don’t expect the same throat-punch of sweetness you get from most modern cookie recipes. Think of this as something to enjoy with hot tea. While cuddled up in a warm blanket. In front of a cozy fire. In Canada.
  • Don’t eat the cookies the first day. I did and was somewhat disappointed. I actually thought, Well, what the hell’s the big deal about these? The cookies will soften overnight and become cake-like which is when they’re at their best!
  • It’s been 8 days since I made this batch and they are STILL lovely without any staleness or wonky these-have-passed-their-peak taste. This is helpful to know when planning your Christmas baking. Note to self: Make the Jim Jams first next year because they have a marvelous shelf-life.
  • Evidently these can be frozen because Husband says so but I can’t personally attest to it or tell you for how long. I’d guess no longer than 3 months. 
Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.




Jim Jams

Jim Jams
Yield: Approximately 30 Cookies
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 30 Min
An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups flour
  • Raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add eggs, molasses, vanilla, baking soda and salt then continue mixing until well combined.
  4. Mix in flour, one cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the bowl and is no longer sticky. See notes below.
  5. Liberally flour a clean countertop or other work surface.
  6. Roll and cut the dough in two batches. Remove half of the dough then, using your hands, shape it into a disc (think large hockey puck).
  7. Place the dough disk onto the floured work surface then sprinkle with more flour. Roll dough approximately 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter cut dough into circles (I used a 3-inch biscuit cutter).
  9. Place cookies onto prepared cookie sheets at least one inch apart then bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until cookies are just starting to brown on the bottom.
  10. Let cookies cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to a clean surface.
  11. Repeat until all cookies are baked.
  12. Cool cookies completely then assemble Jim Jams by spreading jam on the back side of one cookie then topping with another to make a “sandwich”.
  13. If desired, sprinkle Jim Jams with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
  14. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Notes:

The amount of flour needed has a lot to do with how you measure it. If you scoop the flour with your measuring cup, thus really packing it in, you will likely need less flour. If you spoon the flour in then level with a knife (the method recommended by bakers), you will likely need more. The goal is to have a consistency that is dry enough to roll and work with without being too stiff.

The cookies get better the longer they set. The first day, the cookies will still be crisp which makes them hard to eat. Once the cookies become softer and more cake-like they are at their best!

Feel free to use any jam or preserves in these! 

The jam is easier to spread if you stir it vigorously to make it smoother. 

Light brown sugar can be used but dark brown sugar has more molasses flavor.

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Jim Jams! An old-fashioned heirloom cookie recipe for molasses cookie sandwiches filled with raspberry jam.


2 comments:

  1. Interesting. I've never heard of Jim Jams, but I have heard of Jam Jams (it's a Newfoundland thing.) You get a ton of stuff if you search for that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never heard of them either, but I'm glad you finally got your hands on the recipe. I am sure your husband is in heaven!

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy