the final leg of my rain saturday cookie-a-thon involved making these jam squares. flo discloses in her book that she had admired these creations at a local coffee shop for a long time and when the baker, susie block, was getting ready to move to the midwest, she gathered up the courage to ask for the recipe. and i’m sure glad she did! my husband loves these jam squares. he ever so quietly popped four down the gullet before i even noticed. they are fruity, rustic and crunchy — all at the same time.
once you get the pastry dough down, the recipe is highly adaptable. however, the recipe is really only as good as the jam that you use. i still have a ton of earl grey blackberry jam that i made earlier this summer, and decided to pop that into the recipe. you really want to use a jam that has got more fruit than it has water / gelatin content. the latter, once melted in the oven, would just turn the pastry dough soggy.
i decided that these were sturdy enough for shipping, and individually packaged them up in cellophane sleeves for my xmas cookie bundle. they kinda look nicer once they’re separated into 2 inch small squares!
Very Berry Jam Square
(adapted from Flo Braker and Susie Block. Makes about 24 squares)
|Butter||2 sticks (225g)|
|Sugar||275g (amount decreased from the original recipe)|
|Eggs||2 large ones|
|Vanilla Extract||1 tsp|
|Pecans||85g, chopped in a food processor (you can use any kind of chopped nuts. it doesn’t have to be pecans)|
|Jam||280g (about 1 cup) (you can use any kind of jam. i used a blackberry earl grey jam)|
- Line a 9x13x2 inch pan with foil. Leave about a 2 inch overhang on the short ends.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light and creamy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- On the lowest speed, add in the flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms.
- Divide the dough into 2 portions: one about 400g and the other 470g.
- Wrap the 400g portion in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator.
- Take the 470g piece of dough and fit it into the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch pan. The easiest way to do so is to use a soda can (wrapped in plastic) to roll the dough slowly out into a thin layer to cover the bottom of the pan. You can also use your fingers to spread the dough around the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the pecans evenly across the top of the dough, then spread the jam on top of the pecans using an offset spatula. Some of the pecans and jam will intersperse together. But it will all taste great, so don’t worry about keeping the two apart.
- Split the 400g piece of dough (that had been resting in the refrigerator) into 8 equal pieces. On a well floured surface, roll each piece into a rope that is about 12 inches in length. Fit these pieces of rope in a diagonal criss-crossing fashion across the top of the jam. You’re aiming to make a lattice window frame with the dough ropes, and should be able to see some of the jam and nuts through the “windows”
- Bake at 350ºF for around 40-45 minutes. The jam should be set, and the tops and bottom of the jam squares will be golden brown.
- When the pan has completely cooled, carefully take the large jam square out of pan by lifting it out using the foil and a spatula. Peel off the foil and discard.
- Cut into 2-inch squares using a serrated knife.
- To store, stack the cookies using layers of parchment paper to separate. They should keep at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.