If you like raisins, you will love Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies. In many cookies, raisins are almost an afterthought. Not so, with Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies. Raisins are the star of the show, filling the middle and boldly popping through the thin, crispy biscuit crust on the top and bottom.
Have you ever had the experience of not realizing you were missing something until someone mentions that something? Then, suddenly you are craving a taste of that distant memory. That is what happened to me with Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies. I was reading the King Arthur baking blog, when I came across a version of these biscuits. Due to a liberal sprinkling of large crystal sugar, the cookies in the recipe photo and the name didn’t ring a bell. However, when I read the recipe introduction and the dozens of nostalgic comments that followed, my taste buds were flooded with memories of a childhood favorite that I hadn’t tasted for a very long time.
Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies, also known as Garibaldi Biscuits, were invented in England in 1861 and are named after an Italian general famous as a strategist in the unification of Italy. I have no idea why a thin biscuit consisting of raisins sandwiched between crispy dough would be named after General Garibaldi, but the cookies were wildly popular. They are still made today by some British brands. In my American childhood, they were made by Sunshine and later (after a buyout) by Keebler. Then sadly, they were discontinued.
Reading the recipe reviews brought back memories of long, shiny, smooth strips of cookie with perforations to easily divide the strip into five cookie rectangles. The barely sweet dough had just a bit of a crunch, but gave way easily to the naturally sweet raisins within.
My version of Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies are a combination of the King Arthur recipe and several others. They are close enough to my memory of the packaged cookies that I can’t tell a difference. In my opinion, King Arthur’s choice of sugar topping is all wrong. The originals didn’t need it and neither do these. The raisins need to be peaking through the dough. I changed the preparation methods to simplify the process and create less mess. The dough and the filling are both made in the food processor with no washing necessary between the two. The dough is rolled out on the same parchment it is baked on. These cookies are best when the dough is rolled out as thin as possible. The parchment paper makes it possible to fold over the dough without tearing and then transfer the parchment with the cut dough onto a baking sheet without mangling the cookie squares.
As a child, I enjoyed my Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies with a glass of milk. As an adult, I think they are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. If these cookies start nostalgic cravings, bake a batch and see how close they are to your remembered Raisin Biscuit. If you are a raisin lover who has never tried these, get baking! You will be delighted. Sharing Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies is also easy because they travel well and stay fresh for at least one week.
Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1-2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/2 cups raisins golden, black, or a combination
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Chop the cold butter into small chunks and distribute over the dry ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until the butter is worked into the flour mixture and the dough is crumbly.
- Add the orange juice and pulse just until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough appears dry and doesn’t hold together, add ice water (1 tablespoon at a time) until a soft, cohesive dough is achieved.
- Divide the dough in into two disc shapes, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Place the raisins into the food processor bowl. It is not necessary to wash it after making the dough. Pulse just until the raisins are chopped.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut two sheets of parchment the size of a large baking sheet.
- Place one of the pre-cut sheets of parchment on the counter. Dust lightly with flour.
- Place on piece of dough on the parchment and roll it out into a thin (1/8”) rectangle approximately 8”x12”.
- Lightly brush the dough surface with the beaten egg, then spread half of the chopped raisins (3/4 cup) onto half of the dough down the long side of the rectangle. Cover the raisins with a piece of wax paper and press gently into the dough.
- Lift one side of the parchment to help fold the empty half of the dough over the raisins. Roll out again into a rectangle about 6”x15”. Some raisins will show through the dough.
- Brush the surface with the beaten egg.
- Use a pizza wheel to make straight edges and cut into squares about 2”x2”. All edges and squares can be left in place for baking. The cookies expand minimally and can be separated after baking.
- Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet.
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough and raisin filling.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until caramel brown. If baking both pans at once, rotate the pans after 8 minutes.
- Cookies can cool completely on the baking sheet, or the parchment can be slid onto a counter for cooling.
- When the cookies have cooled completely, break apart into individual biscuits and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Wrap small piles of 3-4 cookies in plastic wrap. Fit columns of wrapped cookies snuggly into freezer weight ziplock bags or plastic storage containers. Be sure there is no wiggle room inside the containers or the shipping box.