Thursday, March 6, 2014

Old-fashioned Raisin Vanilla Cookies

Whenever I make one of these cookie recipes that looks a little homey and old-fashioned, I think back to my brother's wedding luncheon. My sisters and I had worked really hard
on all of the food wanting to make it "just right" for the exciting occasion. We took lots of extra time to choose cookie recipes for the dessert bar that we could fancy up with chocolate drizzles and sparkling crystal sprinkles, being careful to make sure there were plenty of choices. At the last minute, a family friend volunteered to bring some cookies as well. They were an old-fashioned oatmeal raisin that looked similar to these raisin vanilla cookies. We added them to the buffet recognizing that they didn't look quite as fancy as the others, but we were grateful for her thoughtfulness.

As I listened to comments from others, I was humbled to hear the bride's father say, "I'm going to choose one of these. It is obviously homemade and I can't resist a homemade cookie. I don't get enough of them these days." He was referring to the oatmeal raisin cookies - we had worked so hard to make our cookies look fancy that they no longer looked homemade! Sometimes a good old-fashioned, grandmother style recipe hits the spot better than any other!

These Raisin Vanilla Cookies are just that way. My mother was given the recipe by an old family friend many, many years ago. My dad is the one who has become famous in our family for making them. I took the liberty to trade up the recipe just a little to reduce the fat and increase the whole grain. The old-fashioned, homemade goodness is all still there.

Begin by plumping the raisins in boiling water. Drain off remaining water so you don't make the dough too moist. Allow the raisins to cool.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Roll into balls and then in sugar.

Freeze any dough you don't want to bake right away. I just use old margarine or sour cream cartons.

Bake until your kitchen smells divine and the cookies are just barely browning around the edge. Cool on a wire rack if you don't have too many eager hands in the kitchen ready to snatch them right off the cookie sheet. Enjoy!

Raisin Vanilla Cookies

1½ cup raisins
1 cup water
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup white bean puree
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour*
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Boil the raisins and water until the water is absorbed. Allow to cool. Cream together the butter, white bean puree, sugar , vanilla and eggs. Add the dry ingredients. Drain any remaining water from the cooled raisins and stir into the dough. The dough will be a little sticky. You can refrigerate it for a few hours or try dipping your fingers in the sugar bowl before forming. Form dough into balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until just barely browning around the edge. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

*I always use hard white wheat flour in my cookies and other baked goods. The flavor is much more mild than hard red wheat and it does not absorb as much moisture as the red wheat flour. This means my baked goods are not too dry and they retain the flavor we are used to, but they contain the whole grain that is healthier.You can always use all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat.

Sometimes I freeze half of the dough in an old cottage cheese carton or other freezer safe container and bake it up later so we aren't tempted to eat too many.

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