Last-Minute (Vegan) Christmas Cookies: Jamtastic Wedding Cookie Sandwiches!

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Need a last-minute cookie recipe for Christmas?  (Or just an excuse to bake more cookies?) Say hello to Jamtastic Wedding Cookie Sandwiches!

jamtastic wedding cookie closeup

Soft and buttery with a coating of powdered sugar and a generous dollop of Jamtastic’s delicious Raspberry Maple jam in the middle, these are just the thing to leave out for Santa–provided you don’t eat all of them yourself first.  Just to forewarn you, this recipe is in no way healthy or whole or any of the things I usually promote here at QV, and you know what?  That’s perfectly all right.  Christmas cookies are seasonal treats, not health food!  In fact, they taste very much like another not-healthy-at-all food: jelly donuts!

jamtastic wedding cookies open

These came about through a very generous gesture from the people at Jamtastic, a small-batch jam company in Vermont.  After I posted my recipe for gingerbread muffins featuring their fabulous Christmas jam, they were kind enough to pass along a jar of their most popular flavor, Raspberry Maple, for me to experiment with.  The jam has a sharp raspberry scent and bright flavor thanks to the maple syrup used to buffer the acid in the berries.  I didn’t know what to do with it at first, but after assessing the smell (read: sticking my nose in the jar and practically huffing the stuff it smelled so good), I decided that cookies would be the best choice.

jamtastic wedding cookies finished
It being the Christmas season, my mind was already on Christmas cookies, more specifically Russian Tea Cakes, a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cookies.  In the QV house, these are one of the three quintessential Christmas treats, the other two being peanut blossoms and sugar cookies.  Ever since going vegan, I’ve made the Nutty Wedding Cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar instead of the traditional butter-filled version from my childhood.  So when the time came to make the traditional batch, I broke out the jam and started noodling around.

The result was this recipe, adapted to use whole grain flour and a much smaller amount of powder sugar for coating the wafers.  It makes an insanely large number of cookies–almost three dozen–so you’ll have plenty to give away.  (Or, you know, hoard.  Up to you!)  I have Earth Balance with Olive Oil listed as the butter substitute for this recipe because it’s my favorite to bake with and is soft enough to beat with a mixer or by hand even right out of the fridge.  My shortening of choice is Spectrum Naturals Organic, but whatever you decide to use, just make sure it contains no hydrogenated oils.

Preparation is pretty much the same as for standard tea cakes/wedding cookies: make a big bowl of (vegan) butter dough with ground nuts, bake cookies and dust with powdered sugar.  In between, things are a little different.  Instead of making small round cookies, you take bits of dough and flatten them out into wafers.

jamtastic wedding cookie wafers
The wafers are then baked before being coated with sugar and filled with just a bit of jam.  They do need to be stored in the fridge to stay fresh, but on the upside that means they stay fresh for longer!  Be careful when dipping the wafers in powdered sugar and pressing the sandwiches together; the wafers are very crispy at that point and tend to be a bit fragile.  After sitting, they soften up and have a delightful texture that melts in your mouth.  Enjoy them with tea or coffee for a special Christmas treat.

Jamtastic Wedding Cookie Sandwiches
 
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Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 35 cookies

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup + 2Tbsp Earth Balance with Olive Oil
  • ½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 ounces walnuts, finely ground
  • ½ cup powdered sugar for dusting wafers
  • 17½Tbsp Jamtastic Raspberry Maple jam

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven 325F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet.
  2. Place the Earth Balance and shortening in a large bowl and whip with a hand mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the ⅔ cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour in the vanilla, almond milk and white whole wheat flour. Beat until combined and moist. Add the rest of the flour along with the walnuts and beat until everything starts to come together into a ball of dough.
  3. Using a ½Tbsp measure, scoop out balls of dough and flatten them between your hands. Place these on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. You should wind up with about 70 wafers. Bake for 12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown.
  4. Cool the cookies for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheets. In the meantime, sift the ½ cup powdered sugar into a large, shallow bowl and get the jar of jam ready. Dip the top of each wafer into the sugar and tap off the excess. Place half of the wafers top-down on cooling racks and scoop ½Tbsp of jam into each. Place a second wafer on top and press down gently to create about 35 sandwiches.
  5. Cool the cookies the rest of the way on wire racks and store in an airtight container in the fridge. The wafers will absorb some of the moisture from the jam and become soft.

Notes
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Jamtastic’s Raspberry Maple flavor is also good on rice cakes, rye biscuits or toast with peanut butter and would probably be fantastic swirled into coffee cake or currant scones.  I fully intend to try using it in more baked goods, and would love to hear if any of you have a chance to try it out in your own kitchen experiments!  You don’t have to be near the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market to get it, either; Jamtastic is available online at JamtasticJam.com!

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About the Author:

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a member of Toastmasters International and currently serves as part of the Capital View Toastmasters club. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, play silly card games and knit socks.
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