My grandmothers were both bakers. Really amazing ones. But they would look at the stuff I bake and raise an eyebrow because treats have changed over time. I don’t think they were making peanut butter Oreo bars back in the day.
In fact, my Eastern European grandmother (or Baba, as I called her) only made chocolate chip cookies for us as a concession to her grandchildren’s tastes. The rest of her baked goods were much more in line with her own upbringing.
A couple of times a year, my Baba would ship a huge box of her treats to us. She lived in New York and we lived in Indiana, so my brothers and I got super excited when those boxes arrived. Nestled in there were babkas, and rugelach, and cookies, and these. She called them yo-yos, and we loved them.
Yo-yos are a honey cookie, soft and cakey, sandwiched with jelly. You can pick your jelly flavor. I’ve used apricot in the past, but my favorite is raspberry. The jelly plays off the sweet cookie layers so well.
I always like to make these cookies around the Jewish new year, since they’re honey-based. The tradition is to eat sweet foods for an equally sweet year, and if that’s the requirement, I think my sugar addiction is ensuring a lifetime of happy years to come!
Yo-yos can be made in any size. These were fairly big, and I realized while following my grandmother’s sketchy baking directions that I was doing something wrong, because hers were always smaller. So if you’d like, disregard the recipe instructions and make the balls of dough smaller.
Either way, enjoy! Kids love these, and adults don’t turn their noses up at them either. My grandmother knew what she was doing!
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
jelly (I used raspberry), about 1/2 cup
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat again. Finally, mix in the honey and vanilla. Beat in the flour and baking soda until just incorporated.
- Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
- When you're ready, line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Make dough balls between 1-2 tablespoons in size, depending on how big you want your cookies to be. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set.
- Cool slightly. Spread jelly thinly on one cookie, and then sandwich with another. Repeat until done!
- Cool and store in an airtight container.