Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chocolate and Brandied Raisin Cookies

I am not a fan of raisins. In fact, so much so that if this recipe hadn't come with a really tantalizing picture, I likely would have never even bothered to try it. This photo was so good that it was enough to convince me to track down Dutch processed cocoa, some 70% chocolate, and even pick up a bottle of brandy in order to make them. I followed the recipe word for word; a bit skeptical, I admit, but hopeful. When they came out of the oven smelling delicious and looking amazing, I began to get a bit excited, but the real test was when I ate one.


Incredibly decadent, with a bit of crunch on the outside but chewy inside, with chunks of chocolate, a hint of brandy and bits of raisins that meld into the chocolatey goodness, this is by FAR one of the best cookie recipes I have ever discovered. Make these for friends at Christmas, or for the adults at your Easter celebrations, but trust me when I say that you MUST try them. Next time I go to a tweet up, these babies are coming along with me.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Dec 2009

1 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa (*see note)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
8 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped (or white chocolate)

Cinnamon sugar for rolling the dough in:

1/2 cup fine sanding or granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F

In a saucepan, bring the brandy and the raisins to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes until cool. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, and then add the honey. Continue mixing until it's creamy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, 1 tsp of cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and stir on low speed until it's combined.

Drain your brandy soaked raisins and add them, along with the chocolate pieces. Give a good stir so they are even throughout.

Now..the original recipe says to line your pans with parchment, but I ran out at the last moment so I just put them right on the pan. I have good pans, so I wasn't worried. You can decide. They don't stick.

In a bowl, stir together the 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and set yourself up, assembly line style with the dough, cinnamon sugar, and a cookie sheet.

Scoop your dough out in 2 scant tbsps. Hold in your hand over the bowl of sugar and douse them with it. Roll into a ball, then in the sugar again. You really want to make sure that they are well coated. Continue, placing the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 18-22 minutes until just set and the tops are starting to crack. Let cool on the sheets for about a minute before removing to a rack and allowing to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If they last that long.

(note: In Canada, Fry's Cocoa is Dutch processed.)
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