Traffic Light Jam Drops

Subtitled: If at first you don’t succeed…

Yesterday was a day best written off. I’m not sure if it was because it was a fasting day (we’re following the 5:2 diet at the moment, and Thursdays are lean days) but I managed to break, bruise or bugger up everything I touched. Among many other mini-disasters of my own making, I had to re-write a particularly lengthy email, I’m sporting a very fetching giant bruise from an errant kettle-bell, and I managed to replace a planning diagram which took hours to produce with a blank file. I was hoping that today would be better but the initial signs weren’t good.

I’ve had this link to raspberry jam drop biscuits saved for a while now and they seemed a good, quick thing to rustle up first thing this morning. (I like the idea of using custard powder in a biscuit. Makes me smile.)  However, the first batch did not turn out well:

Caution: mild peril

Caution: mild peril

What an ugly bunch of mutant biscuits! Look at the size of them! Look at the untidy, escaping, burnt jam! Urrgh! (I feel guilty for pointing out how ugly these are. They probably taste amazing. They smelled beautiful while they were baking….)

Now, I could have given up at that point but I was cross enough with myself after yesterday’s litany of errors and didn’t want to finish the day with a batch of biscuits no-one would want to eat. I stomped off for the corner shop to my replenish stocks of self-raising flour and custard powder, took a deep breath and started again. They don’t take long – the slowest bit was carefully, carefully dropping tiny bits of jam into each of the little indentations, and with soon good music on the radio, even that wasn’t too much of a trial. It does take a very steady hand though. Not one to make on a several-coffee day:


Ta-da! Much, much improved:


That’s my patio. Not an expensive new granite worktop

I did make a few changes to the base recipe, which I’ve noted below but the main improvement was the size, of course. These are much more appealing little jammy bites. These are allowed into the outside world. As the for tin of uglies – never mind, little mutants. We’ll eat you all up 🙂

I could make a link here between re-making hideous biscuits and re-writing horrendous first draft chapters to get a brilliant, perfect final outcome but I’m still labouring through draft ones at the moment – perhaps I’ll revisit this in a month or so when I actually have a first draft of the whole thesis under my belt?

Traffic Light Jam Drops

Don't ask me what the eggs are doing there!

Don’t ask me what the eggs are doing there!

Makes around 30 biscuits


  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 80g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 40g custard powder
  • Jars of strawberry, greengage and apricot jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C/gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until combined. (The original recipe called for 2 tbs of milk – I found this made the biscuits too dry so have added a spoonful more.)
  2. Sift the flour and custard powder into a bowl, then fold them gently into the butter mixture to form a soft dough. Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into balls and place on the baking sheets.
  3. Using the end of a chop stick, make an indentation in each ball and fill with a little jam, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes. (I actually popped them in the freezer for 7 minutes as the fridge is too full for two baking tins!)
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool a little on the baking trays, then remove to a wire rack.
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2 Responses to Traffic Light Jam Drops

  1. rachsmith says:

    such a clever idea! I’m cooking for a kiddie’s birthday party coming up, and might just have to borrow your traffic light biscuit idea!

    • You’re very welcome! I borrowed the basic idea from Good Food magazine and remembered traffic light jam tarts from school 😀

      I’d perhaps make them a little bit bigger than I did because they were so tiny the jam kind of evaporated a bit and you didn’t really get as much of a jammy hit as I was hoping…

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