Autumn is a magical season.
Nature changes colors and the weather becomes chillier making the warm summer days only a good memory to think about in front of the fire in a cold rainy day.
And in front of that fire, with a hot cup of tea, I would eat these chestnut cookies with pumpkin spice jam. To embrace autumn in all its flavors even if it means wearing layers of clothes or get to work soaking wet riding the bike in the perpetual rain (yeah, I live in The Netherlands).
I must admit that this was my first time making a jam but I saw my mom making jams quite few times so with her advice and tips I was pretty confident and in the end the result was actually amazing!
The only thing I was most worried about was sterilizing the pots and vacuum-seal them afterwards. So I will also explain in the post how to do this since it’s really important for the good conservation of the jam and also for your health.
Sterilizing the jars: Buy jars specifically indicated for jams and preserves which must have the airtight sealing mechanism with the silicon ring (as the ones in my pictures) or jars with click-clack lids which can indicate if the content is well vacuum-sealed or not.
TIP: Remember to sterilize the jar just before use so they won’t get contaminated again sitting for too long.
Wash well the jars and lids making sure they don’t have any cracks in the glass. Take a large pot and place a clean cloth around the pot on the inside so the jars won’t hit the metal during the boiling with the risk of damaging the glass. Place the jars in the pot with the opening facing upwards. If there is a lot of space between the jars you should place another clean cloth between the jars so they won’t hit against each other during the boiling.
Now fill the pot with water to completely cover the jars and bring to boil; when the water starts to boil lower the heat and boil for 30 minutes more. Then turn off the heat and let the jars in the water until completely cooled.
To dry the jars you can let them sit on a clean cloth upside down or in the oven at minimum heat until completely dry.
Filling and vacuum-sealing the jars: Fill the jar with the jam when it’s still hot and always leave about 1/2 cm (0.20 in) from the top. Close well the jars with the apposite lids and place upside down until completely cooled. You will notice that the click-clack lid will no longer click-clack!
If you want to double sterilize the jars you can boil them once again as you did before for the same amount of time.
The vacuum-sealed jars should rest in a cool dark place for at least 1 month before consumption. This is to assure that the vacuum-sealing and sterilization process went well (it went well if no mold appears in this time-frame).
If you want to taste your jam immediately there will be no need to vacuum-seal the jar. Let it cool and then set it in the fridge; it will last for 3-4 days (due to this short time-frame for consumption I would suggest to use small jars for this jam).
This recipe is for approximately 20 cookies and 600g (1.3 lbs) of jam.
If you’re out of Pumpkin Spice (or if you live outside of the US like me and cannot find it) here’s the recipe:
- 4 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Ginger
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Cloves
- 50g (1/3 cup) All-Purpose Flour
- 100g (3/4 cup) Chestnut Flour
- 100g (1/2 cup) Butter
- 80g (2/3 cup) Powdered Sugar
- 3 Egg Yolks
- A pinch of Salt
- Hazelnut crumbs
- 1 kg (2 lbs.) Butternut Squash
- 300g (1+1/2 cup) Granulated Sugar
- 2 tbsp Pumpkin Spice (See recipe in the post)
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- With a sharp knife peel the squash, then remove the seeds with a spoon and chop the flesh into small cubes. Transfer the cubes into a large pot and add the sugar.
- Mix well and cover the pot with the lid, then let it rest for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- After the resting time, the pumpkin will have released all its liquids; add the pumpkin spices and the lemon juice then turn on the heat to low and cook for at least 1 hour.
- When the pumpkin is soft, mash it with a fork or with an immersion hand blender. You can decide the actual consistency of the jam, if you prefer it more chunky or not.
- With a spoon, or with the help of a funnel, pour the jam into the sterilized jars leaving 1/2 cm on top and close them well. Turn the jars upside down until completely cooled.
- Add the flour, cold butter and salt in a blender and blend until you will have a crumbly sand-like dough.
- In a bowl mix the sugar, egg yolks and hazelnut crumbs, then add the crumbly mix and with your hands combine all the ingredients until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover in foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes in the fridge.
- Pre-heat the oven at 180°C (350°F), then dust with flour a wooden board and roll the dough into a sheet about 1/2 cm (0.20 in) thick.
- Cut the cookies in whichever shape you prefer and place them in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.