Monday, December 23, 2013

Jammy Dodgers from "Doctor Who"

          In a few days we'll be saying goodbye to our dear Matt Smith as The Doctor in BBC's long-running, science fantasy show "Doctor Who". What better way to send him off than with one of his favorite treats? I've already shared my fish finger yorkie recipe (small yorkshire puddings) so it's time for my take on jammy dodgers! Served with tea of course. I was promised tea.
          These cookies/biscuits have appeared several times during Matt Smith's tenure as Doctor, beginning in the season 5 episode "Victory of the Daleks", and continuing in audio dramas, prose, and later TV episodes. In many of these instances I'm sure Jammie Dodgers, the popular British biscuits from Burton's Foods with the little heart in the center, were the ones meant (and seen very obviously in "The Bells of Saint John"), but in that first instance (s.5, ep.3), I don't even think the unsuspecting eyestalk of a Dalek would fall for a tiny red heart being a self destruct button. No, if you'll notice in the screen capture below, that's a red circle in the cookie he's holding. Then, after the Daleks' scan comes up with nothing, The Doctor eats it.
"All right...it's a jammy dodger, but I was promised tea!"
Eleventh Doctor, "Victory of the Daleks", S.5, Ep.3
          Often referred to as Jammie Dodgers (capitol "J", capitol "D", and an "ie") and sometimes jammy dodgers (as I've done. Notice the lowercase letters and a "y"), these shortbread biscuits are similar in style to linzer cookies, anglesey cakes, and biscuits à la confiture (and still others); all jam filled sandwich cookies with a shape cut out of the top layer. The "dodger" part is original to the Burton's brand, being inspired by the comic character "Roger the Dodger" (1953-present), but I wonder if, because they have been so popular for decades, that some British are prone to calling any type of similar cookie a jammie/jammy dodger, like in America we sometimes say kleenex for tissues or scotch tape for translucent tape. I kinda feel like the "y" ending is the one I should use for homemade and the "ie" for the official ones from Burton's Foods. Maybe? I don't know, it was probably a Crawford's jam ring or Fox's jam sandwich—or a bleeping thumbprint cookie—that was in "Victory of the Daleks". But The Doctor called it a j—dodger! Oh well, let's move on and make our own...whatever they are.

TARDIS cinnamon ornament in background. Recipe here.
Note: I created these cookies to be comparable to Burton's Jammie Dodgers; crumbly shortbread with a jam middle, but I wanted mine to be softer. I think mine taste a little more buttery too. And they're definitely perfect for tea. And just FYI, for novelty purposes, Jammie Dodgers are available state-side at World Market/Cost Plus stores (this is how I was able to do taste and texture comparisons).


Eleven's TARDIS Self Destruct Buttons
(a.k.a. Jammy Dodgers)


Ingredients:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature (soft)
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar (Baker's/Fine Sugar if you have it)
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, slightly packed
1 Large Egg Yolk
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
Pinch of Nutmeg
A Little More Than Just a Pinch of Salt
Seedless Raspberry or Strawberry Preserves (without chunks of fruit)

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter on medium speed & then add in both of the sugars & continue to mix. Add in the egg yolk & vanilla & mix until fully incorporated. On low speed add in the flour, salt, & nutmeg, a little at a time, blending completely each time. The dough might look crumbly just after you've put in all the flower, but keep mixing until it comes together. Then, using your hands, form the dough into a ball.
2. Cut a sheet of parchment paper so that it can sit easily in/on your baking tray. Lay the paper on a flat work surface & roll out about half of the dough ball onto the paper, to about 1/8" thickness. Using a medium-sized circle cutter (I used the cap from a canister of non-stick cooking spray, which is the perfect size) cut as many circles as you can from the dough, leaving about 1/2" or more between each circle. Remove the excess dough from around the circles & add it back in to the dough ball. Next, using a small circle cutter (half the size of the larger cutter), cut a circle out of the center of half of the cookies (or try other shapes! They won't look like buttons though). Use a toothpick to remove the little circles if you're having trouble getting them out cleanly. Transfer the cookies on the parchment paper to the baking tray & bake for about 8 mins. or until the cookie edges are JUST beginning to brown. Remove from the oven & carefully transfer the cookies to a flat surface to cool (I put mine on a towel). Repeat the dough rolling, cutting, & baking process (I had a rotation going of two trays & two sheets of parchment paper) until all of the dough is used up & you have an even number of tops & bottoms.
3. Once the cookies are cool spread a thin layer of red preserves onto the whole circle cookies, a little thinner on the edges than in the middle. Gently place a center-cut-out cookie on top of each preserve-spread cookie, pressing down ever so lightly. Serve with cozy, warm tea. These cookies are even better the next day as they've had time to settle in with the fruit preserve.

Matt Smith/Eleventh Doctor portrait by James Hance.

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