Jam Drop Shortbread Cookies
An incredibly easy recipe to make but totally irresistible and using the best quality ingredients you can get makes them even better. I was thrilled to receive another Magnus Nilsson book from Phaidon. This one I couldn’t wait to read. This one is called Fäviken after Magnus’s restaurant in Sweden. I had seen an episode of Chef’s table all about Magnus and the restaurant and was completely taken in by it. I have a not so secret dream of living a life like his one day - living off the land, being a master pickler and preserver of things and knowing my way around the woods. Those are only a few of the enviable things about Magnus, and those were things he was taught growing up. If you watched the show or if you pick up a copy of this book you will get to know that he is a very young chef with a very accomplished background and plethora of experience apart from what he learned growing up.
His whole story - and career thus far is intriguing and his connection to and familiarly of the outdoors is really what pulls me and has my attention especially when the outdoors involve a place like Sweden. As wonderful and stunningly beautiful as it is, it hold some challenges when it comes to using local produce. Sweden is a country with big differences in daylight, and the winters are also long and frigid. Fäviken is known for using local produce. Nilsson grows and hunts much of the ingredients locally. Because of the local climate over the winter, efforts are made to preserve ingredients in a way that retains their freshness. He is passionate about that and all the processes he uses are just amazing. I’m even more amazed because i don’t know anything about these methods (pickling, fermentation etc…) but I wish I did. I wish I had the time to explore and experiment and be able to preserve more than some jam. One day….. Thanks to his book I will now be preserving my fresh herbs in a herb salt. A genius idea and simple method of preserving the wonderful flavours in a brightly coloured salt that if done properly can last the winter.
Magnus’s book is all about his restaurant and the food he serves at it along with detailing the feeling that you get dining there or staying there. I wish I could say that one day I will visit and enjoy the experience for myself but it looks like I missed the boat on this one (not like there was ever a boat to get on in this case) as Magnus had his last dinner service a mere week ago after 11 years in business. At least I have the book though. The book gives you a behind the scenes of the restaurant and how it was run along with what a day looks like at the restaurant. Magnus shares not only the complete menus of service on several days so we get an idea of what he use to serve but also recipes from the menu too. He takes pride in using the best Ingredients possible for each recipe - even in these simple jam drop cookies.
These jam drops are so so simple to make and they hale from one of the first chefs to be employed at Fäviken who’s name Douglas. He started making these from an old recipe given to him by his grandmother and when he left Fäviken the recipe stayed with him - they continued baking these biscuits. There was always a batch around vein served everyday after breakfast or as a snack during the day.
They are melt in your mouth fabulous and some of the tastiest jam drops I have made. They are perfect with homemade jam. Magnus recommends raspberry or cloudberry jam which I didn’t have but I did have Lingonberry jam which I though would be perfect with these. I used an organic one from good old IKEA - I thought it was totally apropos considering the Swedish connection. You can pretty much use whatever jam you have on hand. Make sure to use a good quality butter since these are shortbread cookies a s butter is def a main ingredient. These cookies can be whipped up in minutes. They take no time to make as the batter needs no chill time and they bake up in 10 minutes flat - DO NOT over bake. They continue to bake out the oven in the pan so don’t be tempted to let them bake any longer than the time specified. (Can you tell that is what I did?!?) This recipe is a gem and keeper - enjoy!
Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift but all thoughts and opinions are my own. The recipe for Magnus Nilsson’s Jam Drop Shortbread Cookies (pg. 208) from his cookbook “Fläviken”. This recipe is shared with permission from the publisher.
- 500 grams of flour (approx 4 cups) plus more if needed
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 220 grams of sugar (approx 1 cup)
- 300 grams of butter at room temperature (approx 2¾ sticks)
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- ½ cup plus more if needed of your jam of choice
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and the baking powder
- In a large bowl of a standing mixer (or you can use a hand mixer too) beat the butter and the sugar until very light and creamy. Then add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture about ½ cup at a time while the mixer is going until you have a smooth dough that is not overly sticky and easy to work with. If you find it’s sticky add some more flour a tbsp at a time until you reach the right consistency. Try not to over mix. (I used about ¼ extra flour)
- Immediately shape the dough using a small cookie scoop into little balls, place on the baking tray leaving a few centimeters in between and make an indentation in each with your finger. Fill the indentation with jam and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake. Eat them as soon as they are cool enough to eat and enjoy them at their best.