These golden and aromatic Persian Saffron Raisin Cookies (shirini kishmishi) are not only swoon-worthy to serve to your friends and family, but also very simple to make. Sponsored by Sun-Maid Raisins.
If you find yourself going to cookie exchanges, holiday potlucks or want a new cookie to WOW your friends and family with this holiday season, do I have THE cookie for you! They aren’t drowning in icing or sprinkles, nor are they scented with peppermint. The golden Persian Saffron Raisin Cookies (shirini kishmishi) will be a welcome change from the typical holiday fare you find at the dessert table.
Persian desserts have been heavily influenced by the French. From rosettes to rolettes and even the Napoleon, Persian pastries are very similar to the French counterparts. But these saffron raisin cookies are truly Persian.
What saffron should I use?
There are three basic ingredients that make this cookie shine. The obvious first ingredient is saffron. Let’s have a quick saffron lesson, ok? I have already written a long post all about saffron, so I’ll keep this short and sweet and to the point. When shopping for saffron, look for long RED threads. You don’t want orange or yellow. That’s not saffron.
Saffron is crazy expensive. Why? You get three threads from one crocus flower. And the crocus flower only grows on the mountains in the middle east. Persian saffron is considered to be of the highest quality you can find. And yes, there are tests taken to prove the quality of saffron.
Do not buy powders, as they can have dyes mixed into them. And the same goes with the liquids. For a recipe that gets its flavor, aroma and color from saffron like these cookies, you want high quality saffron. A hefty pinch goes in the mortar and pestle, then grind it up and steep with a tablespoon of hot water.
The water looks redish orange, but when you add it to your cookie batter, it turns golden yellow. Although saffron costs more per pound than gold, you don’t have to break the bank to buy saffron. In fact, I sell high quality Persian saffron here on my blog!
Can I use olive oil in these cookies?
The base of these saffron raisin cookies is made with butter. Yes, you could swap out the butter and use olive oil using the 3:4 ration of oil to butter. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, so you could use 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil instead.
Alsas, I didn’t use olive oil?! Surprised right? These cookies are meant to be buttery, again being one of the crucial flavor elements in this recipe. The flavor will change if you use olive oil. Also, oil cookies don’t brown the way butter based cookies do as they bake. And part of the character of the saffron raisin cookie is the ring of orange where the butter browns at the edges.
What kind of raisins should I use?
Middle-Eastern cuisine loves to highlight dried fruits like raisins, dates and apricots. And these saffron cookies are no different. Dark raisins are typically used in these cookies. I’m not only using Sun-Maid raisins because they are sponsor of this post, but they really are the best raisins: moist, plump, naturally sweet and seedless.
How to make saffron raisin cookies?
The batter is super simple to whip up. No tedious creaming of the sugar, because you start with melted butter. The batter does spread as you bake, so be sure to leave space between each cookie. You can use a teaspoon of batter if you want to produce small cookies. I used about 2 teaspoons of batter for the cookies pictured in this post. The cookies flatten while baking and are done when the edges are lightly browned.
What you are left with are these gorgeous, bright yellow cookies, studded with raisins and crispy edges. This latest batch I made didn’t last more than 36 hours in my house.
My nephew came by the house and reminded me how he baked these cookies for the admission team at the law school he had applied for years ago. He swears these beauties were the extra nudge that got him in! If that isn’t a selling point to try these cookies, I don’t know how else to convince you!
And if you still want to learn more about saffron, sign up for my blog updates and you will receive my free saffron e-book.
So brew up some hot tea, curl up with a good book, and top it all off with a few of these fabulous Persian Saffron Raisin Cookies.
- 1/4 tsp ground saffron
- 2 tsp hot water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plus 2 TBS granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a small bowl combine saffron and hot water. Let saffron steep in hot water and reserve.
- In a large bowl whisk together butter, vanilla and sugar until combined.
- Whisk in eggs until just combined.
- Mix in reserved saffron mixture and raisins.
- Stir flour into the batter until a soft dough forms.
- Drop 1-2 teaspoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. The batter will spread so be sure to space each cookie 2 inches apart.
- Bake until edges are lightly golden, 12-15 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73Total Fat: 2.9gSaturated Fat: 1.7gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 11.4gFiber: 0.3gSugar: 7.1gProtein: 1g