raisin cookies

3 dozen    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
15 to 18 minutes

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raisin cookies

When I call my mom on the phone, this is what I say by way of greeting: “Sue Raisin! It is I.” I have no idea when this grammatically Victorian salutation started, but I know why it started. My mother’s maiden name is Raisin and even though she and my dad are closing in on their 60th anniversary and she is Mrs. Ritchie to almost everyone, I love to call her by her original name. I mean, how many Raisins do you know? The name is French and means grape, so it appeals to my sense of food humor. And there’s the family lore that her father wanted to name my mother “California” in honor of our home state, but my grandmother intervened with the less mockable Suzanne. Can you imagine if she was California Raisin???? She would have been famous in the ‘80s when the California Raisin campaign was launched. And lest you laugh at the thought of anyone named California, I happen to know two who are.

Which is a very contorted way to get you to today’s recipe for raisin cookies, because there is nothing California about them. They are Persian, from a cookbook called New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking that our cookbook club featured last week. We had mixed results with the recipes (a saffron ice cream I made was about as tasty as a kickball), but our Iranian guest said these cookies were spot on. I’d describe them as tea cookies, with a batter that’s soft and cakelike and scented with vanilla. They have kid appeal, too. Our host’s son grabbed one off the plate, thinking they were chocolate chip cookies. When he bit in, he said, “Wow. Raisins. I love raisins!” I do, too.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup golden or regular raisins
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat an oven to 350°F and line 2 or 3 baking sheets (depending on how many you have) with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and blend until the batter looks creamy. With a wooden spoon, stir in the raisins then fold in the flour in thirds until a soft dough forms (add a tablespoon or two of additional flour if the batter is too runny).

Drop the dough by the heaping teaspoonful onto the parchment-lined sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart (the cookies spread as they bake). Bake in the oven until fragrant and golden at the edges, 15 to 18 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through if both sheets do not fit on the middle rack.

Remove from oven and pull the parchment sheet with the cookies attached right off the baking sheet and onto your counter. Let cookies cool on the parchment then arrange on a plate in the shape of a pyramid for a traditional presentation.