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Raisin-filled sugar and spice cookies

Raisin-filled sugar and spice cookies
Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

One by one, packages of freshly baked cookies began arriving in The Times' lobby, some in pretty boxes, bound in tissue paper and ribbon, others in fancy restaurant bags. Many entries were delivered by hired messengers, some by white-clad kitchen ... Read more

Total time: 55 minutes, plus chilling time of 2 to 3 hours | Makes 12 cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Coarse sugar, such as sanding sugar

Step 1In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, vanilla bean seeds and 1 cup sugar, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the milk and eggs one at a time; mix well.

Step 2Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom into a large bowl. Add to the butter mixture, beating until just incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic film and chill 2 to 3 hours, until dough is firm.

Step 3For the filling, mix the raisins, one-third cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and ginger in a small saucepan. Stir together the cornstarch and one-half cup water until smooth and add this to the raisin mixture. Heat, stirring occasionally, to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Step 4Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the dough in half and roll out two rectangles one-eighth-inch thick. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks and cream with a fork. Lightly brush one rectangle of dough with the egg yolk mixture.

Step 5Spoon 12 mounds, about a tablespoon each, of the raisin mixture spread 3 1/2 inches apart on the sheet of dough. Cover with the other sheet of dough and cut around the mound of filling with a fluted round 3-inch cookie cutter. Rework the excess dough, re-roll, fill and cut for the remainder of the cookies. Lift filled cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: From chef de cuisine Craig Strong of the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena. You'll need a fluted round 3-inch cookie cutter. Sanding sugar can be found at Surfas.


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