Raisin and Nut Cookies
These cookies, traditionally made for the Day of the Dead, November 1, are so popular that they're eaten year-round.
Yield: makes 4 1/2 DOZEN COOKIES
FOR THE COOKIES:
- 4 cups type "00" flour
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 (7-gram) package active dry yeast
- 3⁄4 cup lard
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 tsp. anise extract
FOR THE ICING:
- 2 egg whites
- 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. rainbow sprinkles
- For the cookies: Preheat oven to 475°. Combine flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add lard and anise extract and beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until mixture is flecked with pea-size pieces of lard, about 1 minute. Add baking powder and I cup water and beat until mixture is crumbly, about 30 seconds. Add raisins, vanilla extract, and I cup water and mix well. Add walnuts and almonds and mix until dough forms a ball.
- Divide dough into thirds. Roll each piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface into 6" x 9" rectangles. Cut each piece of dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise at 1" intervals. Using your fingers, press corners to round off edges. Put cookies on ungreased baking sheets about 1⁄2" apart. Transfer cookies to oven, reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake until pale golden, 20-25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until cookies are golden brown, 2-3 minutes more. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to cooling racks. Cover with clean dish towels and set aside until completely cool, 30-45 minutes.
- For the icing: Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 1 1⁄2-2 minutes. Add sugar and lemon juice and beat on high speed until icing is glossy, 1 minute. Spread about 1 tsp. icing on top of each cookie and sprinkle with some of the sprinkles while icing is still wet. Set aside until icing is hard.