Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Jaggery Raisin Cookies

You may have probably noticed that we are huge jaggery fans. I know, this jaggery obsession could be quite annoying, but since we've found jaggery relatively soon we are still enjoying experimenting with it. Considering the fact that until two months ago we weren't familiar with this sweetener we googled it for more information and here's what we've found.

Jaggery is unrefined sugar, produced without adding any chemicals. It is obtained from the sap that drips from the cut flower buds of several palm trees – palmyra, date, sago, coconut and some other palms. The sap is collected then boiled until a sticky sugar remains. Jaggery is also produced by boiling sugar cane juice. However, it is not as highly processed as refine sugar, so the colour, consistency, flavour and the level of sweetness vary from batch to batch, even within the same producer. Depending on how long the sap was reduced the colour can vary from light beige or yellow to dark brown and the consistency – from soft and gooey to hard as a rock.

Compared to other sweeteners jaggery is very high in micro and macro nutrients. The mineral content of jaggery includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and the vitamin content includes folic acid and B-complex vitamins. Jaggery is considered to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections. It also prevents rheumatic afflictions and bile disorders. It increases haemoglobin level and prevents anaemia...

There are so many reasons to fall in love with jaggery. But first of all we love its taste and smoky flavour. Besides it's devilishly good in cookies and other sweets.

We made these cookies as a present for our new friends Kynchin, her son and Sima. They opened the Indian food store in the town two months ago and they were those who have stirred our enthusiasm for jaggery. This was our way to thank them.

Chocolate Jaggery Raisin Cookies Recipe:
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

  • 180 gr all purpose flour;
  • 25 gr cocoa powder (We are using Cacao Barry's Plein Arome cocoa powder and since it is very strong 25 gr are okay. But if your cacao powder is a weaker one - increase its quantity);
  • 2 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom;
  • ½ tsp salt;
  • 140 gr butter;
  • 70 gr granulated sugar;
  • 110 gr jaggery (grated or finely chopped);
  • 1 large egg;
  • 120 gr raisins.

Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC. Lightly butter a baking sheet, set aside. If using a silicon pad – no need to butter it.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until uniform, set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and jaggery in a large bowl until creamy and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Remove the beaters and stir in the prepared flour mixture with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the raisins until soft drop-cookie dough.

Drop by rounded or tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet or silicon pad. Space the heaps about 4 cm apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies), or until the top is dry and a little bit cracked but the insides are still soft.

Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, afterwords transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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