Note: These are nothing like the more common jelly roll cake. I have never actually had one of those, but I imagine the taste and consistency being completely different.
A few years back my Dad's cousin Ivy flew in from Florida, and taught me how to make her Grandmother's jelly rolls. These are my Dad's favorite cookie, and for good reason. The cookie part is airy and slightly sweet while the filling is gooey enough to balance out any dryness in the dough. Of course, while I was learning the process of making these, I did not take any notes, so I was left only with the ingredient list. I have made these for my dad a few times since then, always having to guess at what the actual process was, and always with a satisfactory outcome, but not exactly the way Dad remembers them. This year however, I had a break through. I made them this past weekend for my Dad's birthday. I wrote down my process, and they turned out better than ever before. They received rave reviews from Dad, Mom, and Tim (Dad's opinion is the only one that I really count on these, because he is the only one out of the group that has tasted the originals). So, from now on I will know the process and not have to feel intimidated every time my Dad asks for these. I think I will be making them a lot more often!
Jelly Roll Cookies:
4 C of flour to start-you will probably need to add more as you work though.
1 C sugar
1 C oil
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
large jar of preserves-Dad will only accept strawberry, but I like them with apricot as well.
Cinnamon and Sugar
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Mix flour, sugar, oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix thoroughly before adding the next one. You will need to get your hands in there and mix everything up, so roll up your sleeves and wear an apron!
Add more flour very gradually until dough is a workable consistency. It should still be shiny but not too sticky to work with. Be careful not to make it too dry or it will not stay together the way you need it too. I ended up using about 5 cups of flour total.
This is what the dough should look like:
Divide your dough into 4 equal sections. Place one section on a well floured work space or pastry sheet, and set the rest of the dough aside.
Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. You don't want it to be too thin because you don't want the dough to tear when you roll it up.
Spread a thin layer of jelly and make sure to leave an inch or so around the edges so that it doesn't ooze out when you try to roll it. Top the jelly with golden raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Roll up to make a long roll, gently pinch the seams together, and transfer to a baking sheet with the seam side down.
Repeat these steps with the 3 remaining pieces of dough. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly browned.
Allow the rolls to cool completely and then cut each into 10 pieces. These are great by themselves, or with a big mug of coffee!