Sunday, 6 April 2014

Jammy dodgers

Every once in a while, because I am a good wife, I ask Mr CC if there’s anything he would like me to make.  Every time (without fail) he will pick something that, when I look at the recipe, I think ‘hmmm, not sure I can really be bothered with that’.  These biscuits are a good example.  They are also a good example of why you should let yourself be pushed out of your comfort zone because they are divine, and I would NEVER have chosen to make them!

I’ve made biscuits sandwiched with jam before but they don’t have that chewy quality that a good jammy dodger has.
  Now I know why.  It’s because you should use raspberry caramel rather than jam.  I say this like it’s my idea – it isn’t.  I learned this whilst searching for recipes and coming across The Pink Whisk a blog written by a former Great British Bake Off finalist.  The most I can take credit for here is being able to read.

I tend to avoid anything that involves making caramel; boiling sugar is not my friend.  We fell out a while back when I decided to test if the top of a crème brulee was crispy but tapping it with my finger.  Once I had separated finger tip from boiling sugar I realised I had a new kitchen foe to join yeast (well documented on this site) and squash (long story).

Passing the raspberries through a sieve is so much easier with a sieving mushroom.  This is a simple piece of kit – I think mine cost under £3 but it is the best thing for getting every scrap of goodness out of something you’re straining.  It leaves behind a dry pulp of seeds.  I’ve had mine for a few years now and I love the way each fruit stains the wood a darker colour – a sign of use! So much equipment is over-engineered or too complex but this is as simple as the day it was invented and does the job perfectly:

The caramel is a faff to make but worth it.  Stupidly, I decided to double the quantity as I was doubling the biscuit amount – this meant it took longer to boil than it would normally and it wasn’t necessary anyway as the recipe quantities (as stated below) makes more than you would need for a double batch of biscuits.  Not that it’s a bad thing – it keeps in the fridge for 3 weeks so I shall use it in other bakes.

The biscuit is a classic buttery vanilla biscuit and it’s got a lovely short but not too crumbly texture.  It’s the perfect carrier for the star of the show – the raspberry caramel.  It’s more jammy than jam and, as you’ll see from the recipe, contains a lot of sugar...but it’s not too sweet.  It is a really exciting discovery for me and I’m already thinking about how good blueberry caramel would be.

These were a big hit and I fear I’ve made a rod for my own back as I know they will be requested again.  It’s not that they’re difficult to make but they take time.  Any biscuit where you have to roll out and cut the dough takes time, but the addition of the caramel means they are not a quick bake.  Good job I made a double batch!

For the raspberry caramel:
120g fresh raspberries
Approx 75ml double cream
300g caster sugar
75ml water
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the biscuits:
220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
110g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g plain flour

Start by making the raspberry caramel: Mash the raspberries through a sieve into a bowl or, if the top is wide enough, your measuring jug.
Transfer the raspberry juice to a measuring jug and add cream until you have 140ml of liquid.
Place the sugar and water into a large pan – go larger than you think for safety reasons.  A silver lined pan makes it easier to spot the caramel darken.
Gently heat the sugar and water and, initially just to ensure the sugar and water are mixed, you can stir.  Stop stirring after a couple of minutes.
Have a heatproof pastry brush (mine was silicon) and a bowl of cold water to hand.  As the sugar melts you will see little crystals stick to the pan; wet the brush and just push them back into the syrup.  This will minimise the risk of your caramel crystallising later.
Bring to the boil.  As the mix heats up it will become clearer.  You will also notice the size of the bubbles decreases and the mix takes on a thicker texture.
After a few minutes of boiling the colour will start to change.  Don’t walk off and do something else as it can burn very quickly. 
When you have a rich caramel colour remove the pan from the heat and add the raspberry cream and butter.  It will bubble up so be prepared for it (this is also why you should use a bigger pan than it looks like you’ll need).
Stir vigorously to mix all the elements together.  My sugar started to clump a bit at this point but returning to the heat got rid of virtually all the issues!
Return to the heat and stir all the time whilst bringing it up to the boil.
Boil for two minutes before pouring into a bowl and leaving to set.  I poured it through a sieve into the bowl and was glad I did as there were a couple of lumps of sugar.
Leave to cool.
Place in the fridge to set.
Now make the biscuits: beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla.
Add the flour and mix together, finishing off by using your hands to make a ball of dough.
Flatten into a fat disc and wrap in clingfilm.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Line as many baking sheets as you have in non stick foil or baking paper.  I have three and used them in rotation, baking in batches.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm.  You’re aiming for the thickness about no more than a £1 coin.
Cut out the biscuits using the size cutter of your choice.  I used a plain round cutter just over 6cm in diameter and got 16 biscuits from the quantity of dough given in the ingredients above. 
Use a tiny round cutter to remove the centre of half the biscuits – this will provide a window to showcase the raspberry caramel.
There is no need to leave big gaps on the baking sheet as the biscuits hardly spread whilst baking.
Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  I turned the trays round halfway through cooking to ensure even baking.
Leave to firm up on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
I didn’t make the biscuits up until the day I planned on serving them just to ensure the caramel didn’t make the biscuits soggy.
When you’re ready to make them up, place a generous ½ teaspoon of the raspberry caramel onto a biscuit, and top with a biscuit that has a circle cut out of it.  Squeeze gently to ensure the caramel covers the whole biscuit.
NB. If your caramel is too hard to spread, heat it briefly to soften and it will spread like a dream!  I didn’t do this and gave it a rapid stir to soften it – this worked for me as I wanted to keep the caramel on the stiff side so the top biscuit didn’t slide.
To keep the caramel firm, store in the fridge until 10 minutes before serving.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



Caliowin said...

They look delicious!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

So many useful tips CC! I never realised it was a special raspberry caramel sandwiching together the shortbread- I just thought it was magic kinda jam!

Gloria Baker said...

I love these dears look absolutely beautiful!!

Kimberly said...


Stuart Vettese said...

Never heard of that mushroom thingy before! But these look better than the classics - especially that raspberry caramel...

Baking Addict said...

Wow I've never heard of raspberry caramel and it looks like it's well worth the effort. These would be brilliant with my smiley face cookie cutters. I want a mushroom sieve now! Thanks for all the helpful tips.

Katie said...

Wow they look delicious and much better than shop bought. That raspberry caramel sounds amazing.Bet it would be great on lots of things

Izzy said...

These look delicious, especially the raspberry caramel! I doubt mine would turn out quite as neat as yours though.

Choclette said...

I want one of those mushrooms and I want to go and make some of that raspberry caramel immediately - sounds fabulous and perfect for jammy dodgers. Well done that husband of yours.

Lucy said...

I've never heard of this before but it sounds absolutely delicious! Really want to give this a go now.

Stella Branch said...

I don't make biscuits as much as I should...these look like I definitely ought to give them a go.

Sally Sellwood said...

Hmm your seiving mushroom looks exactly like the thing my mum uses to darn socks. I shall have to raid her sewing drawers the next time I visit... I LOVE the idea of these biscuits. I'd never have through you needed to make caramel instead of just using plain old jam. And they are just a step on from custard creams...

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Wow! These Dodgers look the best! And that raspberry gooey...... I have to make some!!!

Jo said...

Raspberry caramel, mmmmmmm. So that's why jammy dodgers taste so good. And I bet yours were way better than shop bought. Good call to make a double batch!

Stephanie Burton said...

These look delicious but I fear I wouldn't have the patience to do the recipe justice

Cakelaw said...

Yummo - who knew that Jammy Dodgers had caramel in them. I have never seen or heard of a sieving mushroom before - interesting.

Maggie said...

I love Jammy Dodgers, they remind me of my childhood. They look fabulous and I love the raspberry caramel too.

snowy said...

Jammy Dodgers are one of my fav biscuits. Yours look delicious. Not heard of the mushrooms, but they sound as if I need one!

Rosita Vargas said...

Estupendas galletas se ve abosotamente lindas lindas,abrazos

LiSa said...

I too wonder what a blueberry caramel would be like?!? These look yummy!

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Rosita Vargas said...

Estas galletas son un lujo Gourmet absolutamente deliciosos

Katie said...

I've tried making these and while they taste really nice, the mixture was too crumbly to easily roll out :(