After eating all apples and oranges this winter and spring, I’ll be glad to slice into peaches and nectarines, and the first pluck of a raspberry off the patch in the backyard is nothing short of spectacular.
There is a sour cherry orchard not too far from my cousin’s farm, and lucky me, they always bring in overflowing ice cream pails of these jewel-like gems and leave them on the front step if I’m not home. Those are the best days in the middle of August.
Sure, pitting is the worst part, and the counters and sink look like a massacre just took place, but the effort is worth having these sour cherries in your freezer for the winter. I love cooking them down with sugar, and making a compote of sorts. It’s lovely folded into crêpes, stirred into yogurt, layered between chocolate cake and even spooned on top of the morning’s oatmeal.
This compote is also fantastic sandwiched between your favourite cookie, making “jam jams” – at least that’s what my family calls them.
The cookies are soft and chewy, bursting with the heartiness of oats and the aromatics of cinnamon and allspice. Chopped pecans lend some crunch, and applesauce is the secret ingredient that not only adds moisture but makes these favourable for breakfast as well. At least that’s the excuse I tell myself when I grab some while running out the door in the morning.
Simply slather a bit of compote on the bottom of a cookie and top with another. That’s it, that’s all. Both the compote and the cookies are delicious on their own – but together they are something fantastic. I imagine them in backpacks and coolers this summer, being carried along on camping trips and picnics, or wherever the adventure leads you.
4 cups pitted sour cherries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup granulated sugar
3½ cups large flake oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbs (5 mL) vanilla
½ cup (120 mL) applesauce
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Stir together the oats, flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on high speed until light, about 2 minutes
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes, being sure to stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice. Beat in the applesauce
- On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Stir in the nuts, and be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 1 hour
- Preheat the oven to 350º F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- Scoop out rounded, heaping tablespoons of cookie dough, leaving about 7.5 cm of space between the cookies
- Bake for about 8-9 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the top is puffed and set. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet
- Once all of the cookies have been baked and are cool, spread about 2 tsp of sour cherry compote on the bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie.
- Store jam jams in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze the oatmeal cookies for up to 1 month
- Combine the sour cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, until it is reduced and thick. Remove the pot from the heat and let the compote cool completely.