I almost missed strawberry season this year. Everything is coming on so early--because of our winter-that-was-not-winter--and by the time I started to think about picking, all the local spots were picked out.
Disgruntled at the missed opportunity for vast quantities of jam, I took a cue from Marisa and decided that if I couldn't make a big batch, a small one would have to do. I bought a container of strawberries from the grocery store, and the Kid and I cooked it down into three tiny jars of Strawberry Vanilla Jam. (He was a good stirrer. Until he started flinging sugar-coated strawberries to Moe, at which point he was encouraged to find a new activity.)
While a bit soft to qualify as perfectly proper county fair jam (it's a pectin-free recipe), the flavor is amazing. I thought the vanilla and lemon might make it a little cloying, but instead they just make the strawberries taste more like themselves. Jar number one is already gone, and I'm desperately trying to forget about two and three so that they can be saved for fall breakfasts and Christmas pastry.
By which, you might gather, I'm being a little stingy with this stuff. But even being stingy, I couldn't resist using some for this month's cookie club selection, these jam thumbprints. The sugar cookie dough is ordinary; the jam makes the cookies! If it happens to still be strawberry season in your part of the world, I highly recommend a jam-and-cookie session before time runs out!