December 29, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Raisin Cookies

I'm guessing that right now isn't the most opportune time to be posting a string of cookie recipes.  You may still be recovering from what I affectionately call a "Christmas Cookie Coma," you may still have way too many cookies in your house, you may not want to look at another cookie until next Christmas, but here I am posting more recipes for cookies.  I apologize.  This blog may not be good for your new years resolutions.

Chewy Chocolate Raisin Cookies also may not sound very appealing to you.  To be honest, they didn't sound very appealing to me either.  But as the saying goes, you can't judge a book by it's cover and you certainly shouldn't judge a recipe by it's title (though I admit I'm usually guilty of the former).

My beloved former roommate soul-mate (Helen, that's you!) introduced me to these cookies last year when she and her friend made them as part of their Christmas gift-giving.  They over-baked them a bit, and soaked the raisins in sherry instead of brandy, but it didn't matter.  I couldn't get enough.  I don't even really like white chocolate, but it didn't matter.  I couldn't get enough.

So needless to say, I had to make these cookies this year.  Did they live up to my nostalgia-driven expectations? Yes and no.  Yes, because they still tasted great.  No, because, well, does anything ever live up to nostalgic expectations?  But that's another discussion for another forum.  These cookies are worth making and they're very unique.  White chocolate, sherry, golden raisins, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and honey-- how can you pass up such a combination?

Sarah's Chewy Chocolate Raisin Cookies
Minimally adapted from Sarah Carey via Martha Stewart

1 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sherry (I used dry sherry)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup fine sanding or granulated sugar

Bring raisins and sherry to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and let stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cocoa, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the baking soda, and salt.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add honey, and beat until creamy. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Drain raisins; discard liquid. Add raisins and chocolate to dough. Mix to combine.

[The dough will be very wet, I had trouble shaping it into balls as it was so I threw it in the fridge for a little while to make it easier to handle]

Whisk together sanding sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Scoop 2 tablespoons dough [I used less for smaller cookies]. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture, and shape into a ball. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture again to coat completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until just set and starting to crack, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets.

Many more Christmas recipes to come: Chocolate Bread, Peppermint Marshmallows, Rainbow Cookies (!!!), Spinach Artichoke Dip, and a Chocolate Chip Cookie taste off.  Stay tuned.

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