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Lemon-raisin cookies evoke holiday memories


Lemon, raisins and sugar. This tasty combination in a cookie was the request of Lucy W. Merrill of Baltimore. She wrote: "I am looking for Lemon-Raisin Sugar Cookies. The cookie I remember was a pale drop cookie flattened with a glass dipped in sugar. The dough contained lemon juice or extract, enough to make it very lemony, and, of course, raisins. I have improvised with disappointing results."

Her response came from Anne Heinrichs of Relay, who wrote: "This sounds like the recipe Lucy Merrill is looking for. My mom used to make these around Christmas and there were never enough left for company when we kids found where she hid them."

Wendy Kimball of Walla Walla, Wash., requested a recipe for a dish she was served in Puerto Rico last January. "They were called tostones and accompanied nearly every meal we ate (much like a biscuit or roll is served here). I know they are made of sliced plantains (green bananas). I'd love to make them at home."

Carmen Swartz of Bel Air responded. "I love your section. I am from Puerto Rico and I am sending the recipe for tostones. They are made from green plantains, not green bananas."

Recipe requests

* James Brooks of Glen Burnie and Terri R. Abraham of Albuquerque, N.M., are seeking a recipe for making Amish bread, including the starter.

* Anna Mary Upholster of Latrobe, Pa., wants a recipe for an oatmeal pie. "My cookbooks have been no help," she writes.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Letters may be edited for clarity.

Lemon-Raisin Crisscross Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup shortening (part butter)

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 3/4 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup seedless raisins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and lemon extract. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to shortening mixture and blend thoroughly. Fold in raisins. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Flatten with a fork dipped in flour, making crisscross patterns. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "These have the light, crispy texture of a sugar cookie. I used all butter for mine. Don't overbake them; they taste best when the cookies are just browning around the edges.

"The lemon flavor is pretty faint; for more intense lemony flavor, a teaspoon or two of grated lemon zest could be added to the dough. Also, the cookies could be flattened with a glass bottom dipped in sugar (as Merrill noted in her letter)."

Tostones de Platanos

2 green and hard plantains

enough vegetable oil for frying

Peel the plantains and cut them into 1-inch circles. After each cut, put the slice in a bowl with cold water and salt.

In a skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil over medium heat. Drain the plantains and pat dry. Fry them in oil for 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Don't brown them. With a slotted spoon, remove the pieces from the oil and press them with a flat piece of wood, a can or even with the palm of your hand and a folded paper bag. Put the flattened pieces back in the oil over medium high for a few minutes until lightly browned. Drain them on paper towels and serve immediately.

Tester Reiley's comments: "These are like thick, chewy potato chips, with the nutty, faint banana flavor of plantains. I found them most appealing lightly salted. I flattened the pieces with the side of a rolling pin. Gently flatten them or they squish into ugly, irregular shapes instead of round chips."

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