Feb 11 2013

Baking to Focus

I'm selective about the recipes I share on this site. They're not meant to be an accurate reflection of everything Justin and I cook in this house, but rather a way to show what's inspired me lately, whether this inspiration stems from a specific ingredient or a life event related to a certain recipe.

Clicking through the past five recipes I've posted, my winter inspiration seems readily apparent: comfort food made with a purpose. Lately, I've found great comfort in baking. In the winter, I enjoy baking for more than the final – hopefully memorable – result. After hours of sitting at a desk or transitioning from activity to activity, I use baking as a way to center and calm myself.

A few mornings ago, I woke up feeling jumbled and found myself unable to direct my energy fruitfully. I spent 10 minutes making lists of what I wanted to accomplish, and then another 10 minutes moving things around on that list. I had a feeling that an entire morning was about to disappear, lost in the haze of obsessive list-making. I put an end to this procrastination by opening up one of my favorite baking cookbooks, the Nordic Bakery Cookbook. I paged through until I found a way to direct my flitting thoughts into something productive.

For several reasons, these jam sandwich cookies proved to be the antidote to my untamed energy. For one, I didn't have to leave the house to shop for extra ingredients: after deciding to bake these cookies, I gathered everything I needed in two minutes, including a jar of my favorite strawberry jam that I preserved this summer. What's more, the cookies were ready to be eaten a mere 30 minutes after my initial decision to bake them.

Once the cookies were out of the oven and thickly spread with the strawberry jam, I carried a few cookies back to the table with me, finally feeling centered enough to focus on the day's tasks. Sometimes the key to (my) productivity is a half-hour baking break, punctuated by a sweet reward.

Spoon Biscuits with Strawberry Jam

Recipe Adapted from Nordic Bakery Cookbook


  • 200 grams unsalted butter
  • 130 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 220 grams all-purpose flour
  • Jam of Choice (any berry jam works well here)
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan or double boiler over low heat, then bring to a boil gently, stirring with a spoon. Remove from the heat when the butter foams and let it settle before pouring it into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. Gently tip this mixture into the butter mixture, and mix well until combined.
  5. Put 1 teaspoon of dough onto a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). Use a second teaspoon to help you form a neat round. Leave some space between each round, as they spread when they bake.
  6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-14 minutes, until just turning golden.
  7. Leave to cool a little, before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. Spoon a tablespoon of jam onto the flat side of a biscuit and sandwich with another biscuit. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!