Sunshine Cookies

Well, yesterday I was craving sweets and the day before that and the day before that. Try as I might, my sweet tooth is pretty relentless. One of my tricks is never buying pre-made sweets at the store. If I am going to have a treat, I have to get off my lazy rump and make something from scratch. This usually will work to stave me off for a few days, opting for  fruit options or just eating a lightly sugared bowl of cereal. Sometimes though, you just have to have it, that wonderful hit of sweetness.

With a couple of oranges left in my fruit basket and equipped with plenty of golden raisins, I set out to make a new cookie. Something tart, sweet and delicious. The bright citrus notes permeating from the oven as they cooked, I couldn’t wait to bite into one of them. Boy was I rewarded, vibrant citrus notes held up front reminded me of the summer sunshine and the plumped raisins gave the cookie a honeyed caramel back note when accented by the butter. Truly delicious.

Sunshine Cookies

Sunshine Cookies
Sunshine Cookies

2 cups golden raisins

3/4 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 TBSP orange zest

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place the raisins and orange juice in a small saucepan and simmer gently until the raisins have absorbed most of the juice and are soft, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the sugar, butter, orange zest, vanilla and almond extract until thoroughly combined. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients and raisins into the butter mixture with a spoon. The batter will be crumbly.

Gather about a tablespoon of dough in your fingers and squeeze so dough holds together. Roll into a walnut sized ball. Roll the balls into granulated sugar and place 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in airtight tins, as these are quite fragile and have a tendency to fall apart if jostled.

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