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OTHER NAMES: Jumbolls, Jumbolds, Jambles, Jemelloes, Jumbals, Gemmels and Jumballs, knots, tumbles


Jumbles are spiced cookies with many different flavoring and shape options. Early traditional flavoring includes aniseed, coriander, caraway seeds and rosewater, lemon zest, etc. [1] Chocolate jumbles are very popular in its taste and texture: “Chocolatey, spicy, molasses, sweet, light and moist.” They can be thin and crispy, or thick and dense. [2]


The name “jumble” has an unclear origin. It might came from the word ‘gimbal’ or ‘gimmal’, which was a special kind of ring constructed of two separate rings worn together, particularly in the 16th century as a wedding ring. In fact, ‘gimmal’ likely comes from the Old French gemel, from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus (like astrological sign Gemini), meaning twin. [3]


As early as the 17th century they were prepared by twisting the thick dough into shapes (such as knots, pretzel, rings, shape of letter, etc) and then boiling. [4] By the late 18th century, the dough was rolled into cookies and baked. [5]


These cookies were introduced to Europe by the Moors of Spain. [6] Since the 7th century AD, sugar was introduced to Persia (now Iran) and Middle East from India. [7] Pastry was used to only make for the wealthy back then. [8]


While the original jumble recipe has a denser texture and last for longer time, it was a popular baked good for travelers. [9] Eventually they were introduced from England to Virginia in the late 17th century (or early 18th) and became a part of the American diet by developing new recipes such as Nazareth sugar cookie. [10]



nuts, flour, eggs, and sugar, flavoring



Butter, baking powder, fruits, fruit peel, star anise, vanilla, chocolate chips

Chocolate Jumble

Photo by pollyalida / CC BY

Traditional Shape of Jumble Cookies


Jumble in Ring (Donut) Shape


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