Cheddar jam squares – another great recipe that uses the lovely Canadian cheese in the red tub – MacLaren’s Imperial Cold Pack Cheddar. Cheese and fruit are a classic pairing, and these cheddar jam squares just serve to smoosh them together into one delicious bite. Or a whole pan of delicious bites.
The recipe for cheddar jam squares was originally printed on the side of Velveeta boxes in the 1960s. I originally read about it on a Chow discussion forum (this recipe is most like one posted by ‘Full Tummy’). Substituting MacLaren’s cold pack cheddar for vintage Velveeta cheese works like a charm. Apparently the Velveeta of old wasn’t the same Velveeta we know today – it had a crumblier, drier texture. MacLaren’s fits that description perfectly.
When I first baked these squares, I took them to test on my co-workers. I do this often with new recipes. I’ll admit that I got mixed reviews on these squares. If you like them, it seems you REALLY like them. Otherwise, you’re just not crazy about them. It’s not that you won’t like them, they just may not be your favourite I guess.
I then passed this recipe on to my lovely baking friend, Jen. Jen is the mastermind behind the Imperial Cheese Biscuits recipe I did during last year’s 12 Frilly Days of Christmas, as well as their gluten-free version. Jen is an amazing baker. I knew Jen would be excited to try this recipe, and I knew she’d give me an honest opinion about it. Jen said these squares were a hit!
Armed with Jen’s glowing review, I knew I had to send this recipe out to the people. Husband and I really liked these squares. I think they’re a lovely combination of salty and sweet. Between us and Jen, we’ve come up with all kinds of jams and jellies you could layer these squares with. The next time I bake them, I’ll be trying them with jalapeno jelly. I think that’d be amazing. I’m also going to try to make them gluten-free by substituting brown rice flour for the all-purpose flour.
I encourage you to take just a few minutes to give these squares a try yourself. Let me know if you come up with great jam/jelly combinations!
MacLaren’s Cheddar Jam Squares
Adapted from Full Tummy’s post on Chow
Makes 25 squares
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1 tub MacLaren’s cheddar cheese (the one in the red tub)
1 cup (250ml jar) jam – I used seedless raspberry Smucker’s
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Warm the cheese for just a few seconds in the microwave. It becomes a bit easier to manipulate this way. Stir the cheese into the flour mixture.
Cut butter into mixture.
Spread a generous half of the mixture into an 8×8″ baking pan (a 9×9″ pan works too) lined with parchment paper.
Cover the shortbread base with a layer of jam.
Top with remaining cheese crumble.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares to serve.