Kelli’s Strawberry Jam and Watermelon Jelly

Kelli at The Domestically Impaired Guide to the Retro Kitchen Arts has some great recipes, including two that I recently tried.  Her Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper Jam has become our favorite and I just made a second batch.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to use dark balsamic vinegar and reduce the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.   The balsamic vinegar gives this jam a deep, rich flavor.

Her Watermelon, Mango and Black Pepper Jelly is completely different from anything I’ve tried.  This calls for Mango Rum which I had never tasted but was able to find in my local wine shop.  Here again, I reduced the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon because I wanted to use it as a spread for toast, biscuits, etc.  In each case, I used freshly grated pepper and there is no taste of it at all – it just enhances the natural flavor of the jam and jelly.

I had to sample some of each on a toasted homemade roll for my breakfast this morning.

Simply delicious!

On Kelli’s blog, note that she has some canning recipe books for sale to use on the Kindle.  If you don’t have a Kindle (or have a Nook like I do), the book can be read on your computer.

Lillian’s Jam Balls

I’ve been making these cookies for years, adapted from a recipe in an old 1970s Redbook Cookbook.  It’s a good way to use up a little bit of jelly, jam or preserves left in the jar.


  • Servings: Approximately 3 dozen cookies
  • Print
  • 1 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 Tblsp. jam, jelly or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Have an ungreased cookie sheet at hand

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the salt.  Gradually add the flour, mixing well.

Shape a level tablespoon of dough into a ball.

Place balls one inch apart on the ungreased sheet.  Press each ball with the index finger, making an indentation.  Drop about 1/4 tsp. of jam, jelly or preserves into each indentation.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes until cookies are lightly browned.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  Approximately 3 dozen cookies

Since my daughter and I like fresh cookies and I don’t want too many around to tempt us, I like to make a dozen cookies and then divide the rest of the dough into two containers to seal and either refrigerate or freeze for another time.  I like these Lock ‘n Lock containers, available on QVC.  They really do make and keep a tight seal.

In my recipe binder I have a note:  “First made on March 18, 1984 – excellent – very short.”