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Boiled Raisin Cookies

Grandma's Cookie Jar
This cookie jar always had a prominent place in Ella Klassen's kitchen. She was my mother-in-law and very dear friend. Her boys, Harv and Jim, and later, her grandchildren, knew that the jar was always full of cookies baked by a loving woman who would urge them to "take 2 or 3 - they're small!".
The cookies I remember her baking most often were these Boiled Raisin Cookies - they were soft and moist, full of raisins, walnuts and aromatic spices.
  • 2 cups sultana raisins (the light brown raisins, not the dark ones)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, cloves, nutmeg and ground star anise (if you have it)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans 
  1. In a small saucepan, pour boiling water over raisins, bring to a boil again and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and cool raisins (do not drain!) to to room temperature.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
  5. In another bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well mixed.
  6. Add cooled raisin mixture to butter and egg mixture, mixing well.
  7. Add flour mixture, a little at a time until well mixed.
  8. Stir in nuts.
  9. Using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons, drop dough on to greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.
  10. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 16 minutes or until lightly browned.
  11. Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.


  1. mmmm this sounds like a cookie my grandma made back when I was a kid-thanks for the recipe

  2. Sounds yummy. I make my Gram's raisin filled cookies. We boil the raisins with sugar and crisco, then may a brown sugar sweet dough rolled thin, cut into circles(top and bottom) and fill them.

    Enjoy your week!

  3. Oh Bev - those do sound like Gramma cookies!! I smiled at how she urged them to take more because "they're small" just how my mom used to say! Making cookies for the grands was her passion. BTW I am looking forward so much to meeting you in St. Catharines in a few travels!

  4. What does boiling the raisins do to them? Make them softer? chewier? Just wondering!! Thanks!

  5. Just wondering whether you drain off the water from the raisins, or add it altogether?

  6. I'm wondering the same thing aobut draining the water from the raisins! THANK YOU for your blog. I love your hearts.

    1. No you do not drain the raisins. Add the raisins and water to the mixture. Boiling makes the raisins softer and the whole mixture flavours the dough much more than just adding raisins at the end would do.

    2. Thanks for the clarification, these look great, have to give them a try!

  7. My grandmother used to make these too. I forgot all about them. Thanks for reminding me and the recipe!

  8. My mother always used to boil the raisins for her oatmeal cookies. The cookies were so soft and delicious!

  9. Thanks for the explanation re: boiling raisins.

  10. Thank-you for this wonderful recipe you had shared it on facebook and today I made them absolutely wonderful I will be making and sharing this recipe wonderful for bake sales or get togethers.

  11. Just made these. My husband is allergic to nuts, so replaced them with chocolate chips. They are Yummy!!!!


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