I think Granma must have been pressed for time when she wrote out the recipe for Jam Drops. As you can see from the scan above my method is a little different from hers, in that I have added direction for the use of the baking powder and also the rolling of the biscuit balls. I have tried these tasty litte biscuits though, and as Jam Drops go – these are very, very good! My youngest son ( a full grown man), gave his nod of approval just this morning, when he burnt his fingers on Jam Drops fresh from the oven.
Ingredients: 2 cups flour This must have been plain flour, because of the addition of baking powder
¾ cup Sugar I used castor sugar, but I suspect Granma used ordinary sugar
½ cup butter 125 Grams
1 Large Egg OR 2 small eggs
Sm Teaspoon Baking Powder
Method: Beat butter and Sugar to a cream and add eggs. Then add flour and baking powder and mix dough. Roll into small balls. Press a hole in the middle into which place some jam. Bake in a quick (hot) oven.
Granma’s Missing Ingredient – Vanilla Essence I looked up Jam Drop recipes on the internet so that I could compare Granma’s recipe with a modern recipe and could really only find 1 ingredient that was different in a modern day recipe, and that was the addition of 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract, or Essence – depending on which recipe you read. My hubby and I then researched what the difference between extract and essence was, and when we found that both vanilla essence and extract were used readily, world wide for favouring all sorts of baking goods, it got us to wondering why my Granma didn’t use it in her Jam Drop recipe.
Ines Maude Smith (Granma) married in May of 1908 at the age of 25 years, but going by her handwriting she may have started transcribing recipes into her cookbook during her early teen years. The recipe for the Jam Drops is in a more mature handwriting and is to be found near the back of her recipe collection, so I am presuming that the recipe was used after her marriage, perhaps even during my mothers childhood between 1913 and 1923. During that period of time World War 1 broke out and many common household supplies became difficult to purchase. My husband and I wondered if this was in fact the very reason that she did not include vanilla essence, or extract, in her recipe. Supplies of what could be seen as a luxury item would have been very low, plus the cost may have been prohibitive. During World War 1 my grandfather left my grandmother with their two little children to travel to Glen Innes, where he broke horses for the Army, so the budget at home may well have been very restricted. Our research also provided us with a recipe for homemade Vanilla Extract, which I can’t wait to try. I’ll have to let you know how it turns out!
Sources: What is the difference between Vanilla Essence and Vanilla Extract?
Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe