I enjoy re-engineering vintage recipes. I recently came across a recipe for an Old Fashioned Biscuit Cookie that I remember enjoying in my childhood. We rarely had store bought baked goods in our large household, so the taste of these cookies is still entrenched in my memory. They were so different from the home baked Hermit cookies that my Mom typically made. Cookies that look like a cracker with a chewy texture and crunchy sugar topping were very appealing back then and are still today. Old Fashioned Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies were originally known as Garibaldi Biscuits and were named after an Italian general named Giuseppe Garibaldi. The biscuit company Peek Freans first manufactured the cookie in 1861. They have been a popular snack for over 150 years in Britain, as well as Australia and New Zealand where they are known by different names such as “Fruitli” and “Full O’Fruit.”
Originally, currants were used in Garibaldi Biscuit Cookies. In this Old Fashioned Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies recipe, I have substituted Golden Raisins for the currants. The cookie dough is rolled into a thin layer and folded over a layer of golden raisins and firmly pressed flat with a rolling pin to create a thin sheet of fruit-studded dough. While currants were traditional in this distinctive cookie, I like the look of the golden raisins peeking through the dough and in the baked cookie. Golden raisins are also known as sultanas and are made from green seedless grapes that are dried. Golden raisins are the juiciest and lightest in colour of all raisins. Raisins (dark raisins, sultanas and currants) are highly nutritious, high in fibre, potassium and antioxidants. Due to their concentrated nature, they are also high in sugar and calories so it is advisable to eat them in moderate amounts.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
I remember reading about a study that showed eating raisins may lower blood pressure, improve control of blood sugar and also increase the feelings of satiety. On a more romantic note, I remember reading the following quote from a dietician’s manual that has stuck with me for many years:
“Eat a handful of raisins, and you can kiss your husband for an hour! ” Anonymous
I find it quite amusing that this style of cookie is today often referred to as ‘Boomer Cookies’. My husband refers to them as “Old Fart Favourites” – he is a boomer (#oldfart). You will want to try this old-fashioned recipe, which has been modernized to accommodate gluten-free/dairy-free options as well as maintaining the traditional recipe. Both versions are scrumptious.
An Old Fashioned Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookie
CHEF TALK: Old Fashioned Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies are easy to make, and easy to eat (and eat and eat). As is my practice, I made two versions of the cookies, one with all-purpose flour and unsalted butter; and another dough using gluten-free and diary-free coconut butter. The gluten free/dairy-free version is a little trickier to work with due to its structure (See Chef Tip below in Step 5 of the Method), however it still produced a very good result. The version using all-purpose flour and butter was somewhat crispier. The cookies keep well in an airtight tin and they also freeze very well.
Yield: 30 – 48 biscuit cookies, depending on the size you cut them (See Step 10 in Method below)
Equipment: 2 baking sheets; rolling pin, knife or pizza cutter
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (135 g) or gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) icing sugar (also known as confectioners sugar)
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) cold unsalted butter or coconut butter (84 g)
- 3 – 4 tablespoons (45 ml – 60 ml) ice water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 ml) water
Golden Raisin Filling:
- 1 ½ cups (195 g) golden raisins, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup coarse sugar like Demerara or sparkling sugar, as needed
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter (or work in the coconut butter) into small pieces, and work it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, mixing until the dough is crumbly.
- Drizzle in the ice water mixing until the dough holds together (you might need 1 extra tablespoon of water if you are using gluten-free flour). The dough should hold together if you squeeze a small amount together. If the dough seems a little dry or too crumbly, add a few more drops of water.
- Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a rough rectangle. Wrap the dough, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Towards the end of the refrigeration time, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Take one piece of the dough, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a rectangle that’s about 10″ x 14″, about 1/8″ thick. CHEF TIP: Use the sheet of parchment that is lining your baking sheet to make rolling the dough easier. (This is particularly useful with the gluten-free/dairy-free dough due to its more delicate nature). Make sure to flour the surface of the parchment paper well first and roll out, fold, cut and place the dough on the parchment paper.
- Brush the surface of the dough lightly with some of the beaten egg.
- Combine the chopped golden raisins with vanilla and mix thoroughly. Spread half of the surface of the dough (lengthwise) with 3/4 cup of the chopped golden raisins.
- Fold the other half of the dough over the raisins, and roll again, until you have a piece of dough about 6″ x 15″. Some of the raisins may pop through.
- Brush the dough lightly with some of the beaten egg, and sprinkle with some of the coarse Demerara sugar.
- Using a knife or a pizza wheel, carefully cut the rectangle of dough into three strips, lengthwise. Then cut each lengthwise strip into crosswise pieces, trimming edges if necessary. You will have 15 – 24 pieces, depending on the size you cut the cookies. My cookies measured 1 1/2 x 1 1/4″ inches, totalling 24 small rectangular cookies for each piece of dough.
- Transfer the cookies to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them close together; they won’t expand much.
- Repeat the entire process with the remaining piece of dough.
- Bake the cookies for 14 to 18 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Note: the gluten-free/dairy-free cookies will not change colour the same as the all-purpose flour/butter dough – they will be lighter in colour, as shown in the photographs. Once the cookies are firm to the touch and the sugar starts to caramelize, they are done. Remove them from the oven, and cool.
Please CLICK the link above to access my Urb’n’Spice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Parchment Paper
- Vanilla Extract
- Gluten Free Flour Blends
- Oven Temperature Accuracy
If you try this recipe for Old Fashioned Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookie, please leave me a comment below with your feedback. Please pin this recipe for later!
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Adapted from King Arthur Flour
King Arthur Flour – How to Make Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies