There is something homely and nostalgic when taking a tray out of the oven and taking a bite warm out of the oven with a chewy and sweet jam centre.
If you grew up in Australia, these jam drops will certainly bring fond memories of your grandmother making this staple for school lunches or during the holidays. They are so lovely with their centres sparkling and normally I’ll make half with apricot jam and the other half with raspberry as opposed to strawberry as they make a lovely dramatic contrasting mosaic effect laid out on the baking sheet.
The first time I made these about twenty years ago, my eldest child was a toddler and I had her first birthday party to prepare. Fairy bread and these classic coconut jam drops was on the cards. That first time, I added the jam warmed before baking but the end result was the jam splattering everywhere. The second attempt, I added the jam after baking in the thumbprint. The jam though, had not set – baking was required.
So here we are after 20 years and now many many successful bakes later. It is school holidays and with three boys staying over for the day, these jam drops were made ever so quickly while the boys were swimming in the pool.
Before you start, bear in mind no two ovens are the same so cooking times and temperatures vary. Put your first batch in, be in close proximity to them and record the time it has taken to achieve that just perfect consistency.
When making biscuits all your ingredients must be at room temperature. This includes the butter and the egg. When the butter is soft, yet holds its shape, and when it doesn’t hold any resistance when you pierce it with a knife, it is at room temperature.
If you have made these, do let me know how you went and perhaps hash tag #olivesandfeta. I would love to see your creation.
150g butter at room temperature ( see note above )
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence ( optional )
11/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup apricot jam
Preheat over to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and beat well.
Sift the flour, and fold into the batter mixture. Add the coconut and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep on mixing until well combined. You may need to use your hands to mix the ingredients well.
Roll the mixture into a small ball and place in the baking sheet. Ensure each ball is at least 5 cm apart. They will spread and rise as they bake. If they are not far apart from each other, they will come into contact and stick together during the baking process.
Use your thumb, or an object that is cylindrical and only about 1 cm in diameter. This may be the back of a wooden spoon. Press into the centre of the balls. They will flatten a little.
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and add 1/4 teaspoon of jam into the well. If the well is shallow because the cookie has risen, you may need to use your finger or the back of the wooden spoon to press down again. Bake for another 3 minutes, remove from the oven and inspect the cookie and the jam. They may require a little more jam bake for a further one minute. Remove from the oven, allow to cool before touching. They may be a little soft whilst still warm.