Jutta’s Raisin Cookies recipe written years ago on an index card.
My grandmother Jutta Almy of Carlsbad, New Mexico, was quite a talented baker who baked cookies and beautiful cakes for every occasion and even no occasion. Her Raisin Cookies, soft and spicy, were a cookie jar staple that we gobbled up with gallons of ice cold milk. Just the energy boost we needed before heading back in the hot desert air to play on the swing set, always on the lookout for a roadrunner.
The other day, I ran across Jutta’s Raisin Cookies recipe on an index card she had given to my other grandmother years ago and realized how this old-fashioned style of simple baking fills a real homey void in today’s upscale cookie jar. For one, you know it’s a good recipe because my other grandmother asked for it. A shared recipe is a taste-tested, trusted recipe. Doesn’t mean it’s fancy. These cookies have no pedigree whatsoever, you can use shortening instead of butter, generic raisins are fine, and so are those old nuts you have in the freezer. We always had lots of pecans in the freezer from the trees in both my grandmothers’ yards. I still seem to hoard them.
As a charter member of the Nashville Self-Rising Society, of course, I use half self-rising and half all-purpose flour instead of adding the leavening. The baking soda makes the cookies crispier, leave it out and you’ll have soft pillow cookies. I don’t sift and I usually use butter because it’s handy, not for the taste. You’ll have a good six dozen, so share and put some up in the freezer for when you need a little something sweet.
If you haven’t tried my Nashville Cornmeal Cookies, you must. This time, self-rising cornmeal mix is the starring ingredient.
And my version of Schrafft’s Butterscotch Cookies via Judith Jones is a keeper.
And there was that time I made Chocolate Chip Cookies without a mixer…and they turned out great.
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Combine the raisins and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs and blend well. Add the cooled raisin mixture, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and spices. Stir in the flours and nuts until well blended. The dough will be soft. Chill about 30 minutes. Drop by spoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake at 375 F about 12 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.
The baking soda gives the cookies a little crunch. Leave it out and you'll have soft pillow cookies.