This is a wonderful cookie of my wife’s people! They are vibrant in flavor from the sweet raisins to the floral accent of saffron. So it was a given that we had to try our hand at making these delicious little beauties! And as you can see, it was a delightful success.
Ziba loves all things Persian and for Mother’s day this year I decided to order her some of these cookies from Louisa Shafia. Her website is stocked full of wonderful Persian spices, foods, and recipes. She is a wonderful resource when it comes to finding authentic ingredients. These are her cook books – The New Persian Kitchen and Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life.
Saffron Raisin Cookies go best with a hot cup of black tea, also known as chai.
In America we have immortalized the chocolate chip cookie as the cookie of choice. The Shirini Keshmeshi would be the equivalent for the Persian culture! It is always fun to have the opportunity to try our hand at making something so important. Letting those like Ziba’s dad, Asghar, who is from Iran, to critique our recipe and give us a thumbs up for bringing back a warm memory of his childhood and culture.
For those that are here to learn, please understand that this cookie it extremely simple so it must be understood from a cultural aspect. It is not a ‘fluffy’ cookie. Think more like a English biscuit that is made for dipping in your tea. It has a chew consistency with a slim crispy rim. It is not doughy, nor overly sweetened. Lastly, the beautiful aromatics of saffron bring out the best of this cookie. Remember to bloom your saffron. Grind your threads and add a teaspoon of hot water to see the true nature and vibrancy of saffron. It is expensive but so very worth it in flavor and aroma!
Sweet and Floral Persian Saffron Raisin Cookies - Shirini Keshmeshi
Make a cultural appreciation moment out of this recipe. Go to a Middle Eastern grocery store. Talk with someone you don’t know, and ask them their recommendation on which tea goes best with these cookies! Learn and grow, if you are able, bring your kids along and make it a family trip.
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1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), unsalted, room temperature
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp of vanilla paste or extract
1/8 tsp of saffron threads, ground and bloomed in 1 tsp of hot water
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 cup of raisins
- Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Cover two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides.
- In a small bowl grind the saffron threads and add 1 tsp of hot water and let bloom for 1 minute. Add in eggs one at a time to creamed butter and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Add in vanilla bean paste along with bloomed saffron. Mix until combined.
- Set your mixer to a slow speed and slowly add in your flour and salt until your dough forms. It will be slightly wet but will still be able to keep some form. Fold in the raisins.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1-2 teaspoons of dough and drop onto your pre-lined baking sheet. Roughly 12 per sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. Recipe will make roughly 3-4 dozen cookies.
These cookies come out flat and small. If you want them bigger, measure out 1 tbsp of batter and cook for roughly 20 minutes.
Serve this cookie with Persian chia tea.
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