These cookies are not out of any cookbook I own, other than one Mom put together for us of family recipes years ago. My copy is stained and well used, and with good reason. All our old family favourites are in it. Mom has mentioned sources, when she has them. The source for these cookies was her Grandmother, May Greenhalgh, who she made them with when she was a little girl. I also grew up making these cookies, and while I’ve seen very similar recipes in other places, these ones are especially fun to make if you have a balance scale.
You will need egg(s), butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and jam. Grandad (whose mother the recipe came from) insisted that raspberry jam was the best jam for these cookies, and I agree! You start by weighing the egg(s), or, if you have a balance scale, put the egg or eggs on the side the weights would normally go on. Then measure out the same weight of butter and sugar, and cream them together. Measure twice the weight of flour, and then beat the eggs into the batter, then the flour, with 1 tsp of baking powder per egg. When the dough is nicely mixed, roll into smallish balls and place on a cookie sheet. Using a flour-dipped thumb, press an indentation into the top of each cookie, and fill with a small amount of jam.
Bake them at about 350° until lightly browned.
When I baked these cookies last night, the butter I used was hard as a rock, straight from the fridge, and thus hard to cream. I got the sugar more or less worked in, but didn’t cream it properly. The slightly lumpy appearance is the result of that, though they still tasted good enough to vanish very quickly.
When properly creamed, they look much nicer, even nice enough to put out with the fancy cookies. You just have to be careful not to overfill the jam hole, or you end up with a sticky mess on the cookie sheet and far less attractive cookies.
You do need to be careful, too, when they are fresh from the oven. The jam will burn you! They keep nicely in a tin, as long as you stack them carefully and keep them hidden.
These are still one of my favourite cookies, though I don’t make them very often. The scale I use was a wedding gift to my grandparents when they got married in 1940. I’m sure it made many, many batches of Jam Buns over the years, since they were a favourite of Grandad. It’s getting kind of battered and chipped, but it still makes great cookies!