My friend Julie and I have been planning to make this Jammers Recipe from Grand Central Bakery for months and we finally made it happen a few weeks ago. About a year ago we were both in Portland and decided to meet up for our usual coffee date (having our regular scheduled breakfast dates are so good for my soul!). This time we decided to go to one of Julie’s Portland favorites – Grand Central Bakery. We walked there in the cool Portland fog then quickly warmed up with hot-from-the-oven jammers.
Jammers are a staple at Grand Central Bakery and they are basically crumbly biscuits with jam filled centers. Some wise (or maybe just busy) person took out the step of needing to spread jam on your biscuit which somehow makes these Jammers an even better biscuit experience!
It was another foggy, raining morning in Salt Lake when we decided to recreate our Portland experience. We cut butter into the flour and therapeutically used our hands to work the dough until it came together but was still a bit shaggy. Making biscuits or bread calms my soul. It forces me to get into a rhthym and clear my head for a bit.
Julie and I chatted while we worked. We always talk about our faith and hearts when we’re together, hardly wasting anytime with the surface stuff. We check in with how each other are really doing and often speak truth and grace to each other through scriptures we are learning from. Our relationship is one that I couldn’t do without and am always grateful for.
As we caught up we used a glass jar to cut our biscuits into rounds (very portland hipster of us but more truly we didn’t have any biscuit cutters) then filled each doughy circle with a generous spoonful of jam. Using the odds and ends of both of our jams, we had an assortment of flavors: raspberry, strawberry rhubarb, and plum cardamom. The biscuits would be as varied as our conversation.
We were hoping to enjoy a hot biscuit together as we did on that foggy Portland morning but our time was cut short as Everett was feeling a sick. So, instead, we parted ways and we promised for another breakfast date soon. I ate my hot biscuit on the way home with a grateful heart for such a good friend.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour , 1 pound and 4 ounces
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter , 8 ounces or 2 sticks
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk , 10 to 12 fluid ounces
- 3/4 cup good quality preserves or jam
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
Dice the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime–to quarter–size pieces of butter remaining. If you’re preparing the dough the night before, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk in one addition. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together; it will look rough. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will come together, on the paddle if you are using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches.
The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. It won’t look smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the jammers into circles at least 21/2 inches in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches and again cut into circles.
Use your thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty–cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb–shaped hole that’s a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think pinch pot). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit, to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of jam and put the jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches between them.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.