Italian Spiced Cookies

I like to make these little round
spice cookies at Chanukah time
I usually bake about five trays full: our family eats about
half, and the rest are prettily wrapped in sixes as small
gifts for our neighbours.
I don’t think the recipe is specific to this festival: you
could make them for gifts or sweet party nibbles at any
time. They are not over-sweet, and have enough spice to
be interesting.
The way I mix the ingredients is a little unusual, but I
think it gives the nicest cookies. For the perfect firmbut-
chewey texture, baking time is critical to half a
minute either way. If baked till just golden-brown, they
should have the right texture when cooled – they will be
a little more chewey and less crisp after storing in a tin
until next day.
Baking time varies a little with each mix of dough. Roll
and bake only ten or so for the initial test bakings, but
put them as close together on the baking sheet as if you
were baking a whole tray full. When you have fine-tuned
the time to suit your oven and dough mixture, I suggest
you bake one tray at a time, while rolling cookies for the
next lot. They bake so quickly, it’s almost a continuous
process… until you have every available surface covered
with trays of cooling cookies! When completely cool, I
like to sieve a little icing sugar over the top.

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped small organic raisins ) (not the large sticky type) )
3 TBS orange juice ) **
2 tsp real vanilla essence )
2-3 TBS sweet sherry )
** Put these first 4 ingredients together in a small
bowl for an hour or so to soften.
1 cup butter, softened (unsalted butter if possible)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups, plus 1/4 cup, unbleached flour
(may need more)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Method
• Cream butter and sugar in food processer
• Add about 1 cup flour, spices, baking powder and
soda, and blend briefly.
• Tip into a large bowl, add second cup of flour.
• Knead/rub gently together, then use a wire pastry
blender tool to combine everything into even crumbs.
• Break in egg, add raisin mix. Stir/knead to a stiff,
slightly oily paste, which just forms into smooth
20 mm balls when rolled between your hands.
Refrigerate the dough briefly if it is too soft. If
necessary, knead in a little more flour.
• Place balls 25 mm apart (I don’t flatten them) on
lightly greased baking sheets and bake for typically
12 min at 170’C, or 13 min at 165’C. Allow to cool
slightly on sheet, then lift off with a palette knife and
cool on wire racks.
Enjoy….. Simcha

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