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Cooking with raisins


Joe Foodie, Wikimedia Commons

Try some freshly-baked oatmeal raisin cookies. Maybe throw in a few chocolate chips, too.

 

The other day, I got hungry for a snack and felt too lazy to actually make anything, so while checking the pantry for something easy, I spotted a couple of boxes of golden raisins (my favorite kind).


As I was at my desk munching on a small bowl of raisins, I thought hey, why not feature some raisin recipes this time?


I can remember when I was a kid, some folks passed out little boxes of raisins on Halloween. Other folks gave out walnuts or pennies or nickels (when they ran out of candy, I presume). We really just wanted candy in our trick-or-treat bags, but we took anything we could get.


Here are some raisin recipes you can try and I hope you find at least one that will become a favorite.


Applesauce raisin cake


15 ounces seedless raisins


1 cup sugar


1/2 cup brown sugar


Pinch salt


1 tablespoon cinnamon


1 teaspoon nutmeg


2 eggs


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature


2 1/2 cups flour


2 teaspoons baking soda


2 cups applesauce


1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a tube pan or Bundt pan.


2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.


3. Heat the applesauce until very warm, then stir in the baking soda to the applesauce. Add this mixture to the creamed butter/sugar mixture.


4. Stir in the flour and salt and mix well. Add the raisins and stir them in. Pour into prepared pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


5. Remove from oven and allow to sit 10 minutes covered with a clean towel. Turn out onto a plate and allow to cool completely before slicing.


Raisin bread


3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups flour (all-purpose), divided


1/4 cup sugar


2 envelopes active dry yeast


1/2 cup milk


1/2 cup water


1/4 cup butter, softened


2 large eggs, room temperature


1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1 teaspoon vanilla


3 cups raisins


2 tablespoons butter, melted


Glaze:


1 cup confectioners’ sugar


1 1/2 tablespoons milk


1/4 teaspoon almond extract


1. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 envelopes yeast in a large bowl. Heat milk, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan to 120 to 130 degrees. Add to the flour mixture and beat with mixer at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl often. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Toss together raisins and 1/4 cup flour; stir into dough. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.


2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down; let stand 15 minutes.


3. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch loaf. Place in 2 greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.


4. Preheat oven to 375. Bake bread for 25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool in pans 10 minutes; transfer bread to wire racks. Brush loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter and cool completely.


5. Prepare glaze: Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over tops of loaves.


Cinnamon raisin bread pudding


I like to double this one.


1 cup cubed cinnamon raisin bread


1 large egg


2/3 cup milk


3 tablespoons brown sugar


1 tablespoon butter, melted


1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Dash salt


1/3 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350. Place bread cubes in a greased 2-cup baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until blended. Stir in raisins. Pour over bread, let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.


2. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.


Chewy oatmeal raisin cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened


1/4 cup sugar


1 cup light brown sugar, packed


1 teaspoon vanilla


2 eggs, lightly beaten


1 tablespoon molasses


1 teaspoon cinnamon


1 1/2 cups flour


1 teaspoon baking soda


1/2 teaspoon salt


3 cups oats (I use quick oats)


1 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.


2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Blend in the beaten eggs, molasses and vanilla extract until well combined.


3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. Add the oats, mixing again until thoroughly combined. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and blend well.


4. Add the raisins and mix until they are evenly combined. Drop cookie dough by light tablespoon onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes.


5. Cool the cookies for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet then remove to wire racks for cooling. Store leftovers in an airtight container. Makes 4 to 5 dozen, depending on size.

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