As handy as Google translate can be, there are times when it really kind of sucks. Like when you’re trying to read recipes in Romanian. I’m pretty sure these cookies aren’t really called raisins with raisins, because that seems kind of redundant.
I originally made these cookies for a friend of mine, who is from Romania. I had offered to bring some kind of a dessert for her mother’s funeral service, and I thought it would be nice to make something traditional. The only problem was that I had (and still have) no real idea about Romanian cuisine.
So, Google to the rescue, right? Er, um… well. Sort of. Without having a name for anything specific, the results were a little limited. Even after I found these cookies, recipes for them were pretty thin. Until I had an actual name. Once I typed that in, an abundance of various recipes came up… in Romanian. I don’t speak or read Romanian.
As bad as Google translate can sometimes be, I at least managed to limp along. In fact, I even got to a point where I began to recognize the words for the ingredients, though that’s the extent of my knowledge of Romanian vocabulary. Thankfully, the recipes all had a pretty basic pattern to them and the same key ingredients!
The cookies disappeared quickly and my lovely friend was happily surprised to have them. They are light, buttery, with a nice little rum-y kick and a bit of texture from the raisins. They come together quickly, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of dough to make a large batch. I was glad they were popular, but I was a little sad I didn’t have any left to take home!
Fursecuri Cu Stafide (Romanian Rum Raisin Cookies) Recipe
One thing I noticed about the recipes I came across was that almost all had a basic formula of equal weight in grams of all the ingredients, and that very few used baking powder (which Google translate called “old powder”, ???). I am listing both the metric mass amounts, along with a converted amount if you don’t have a metric scale. I also left out any baking powder, as this seemed the more traditional route.
- 225 grams raisins (1 1/2 cups)
- rum (choose an unflavored rum, and make it strong)
- 4 large eggs, based on USDA size guidelines, which is close to 225 grams (if you use extra large eggs, you will need to add 25 grams more of each of the above ingredients)
- 225 grams granulated sugar (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.)
- 225 grams butter (1 cup), at room temp.
- 225 grams all purpose flour (1 3/4 cups, measure by whisking the flour then scooping it into the measuring cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Put the raisins in a small microwave safe bowl, or small sauce pot. Add enough rum to cover the raisins completely and gently warm them. This will allow the rum to soften the raisins and plump them up, and for the rum flavor to penetrate better. Set the raisins aside to allow them to soak.
In many cookie recipes, the fats are beaten first, then things like sugar and eggs are added later. Every recipe I looked at for these Romanian raisin cookies started with the eggs first, then sugar. This allows for the sugar to dissolve completely and creates a different kind of texture and flavor in the final product. In a bowl large enough to hold all your ingredients, beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add the sugar and beat until it is dissolved as much as possible. There should not be any real graininess to the mixture.
Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the egg mixture. Beat the butter in as much as possible, though it’s okay if there are some small lumps. Drain the rum from the raisins and add the raisins to the mixture. (The leftover rum is not used in the recipe, but raisin flavored rum is a very good thing. Just putting that out there.) Gently stir in the raisins into the batter. Add the flour and gently fold it in. You don’t want to over mix because that will burst the bubbles in your batter that will be your leavening. Allow the batter to rest for a couple of minutes so the flour can absorb more of the liquid.
Put spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet (lining the pan with parchment paper will be really helpful for these!). Space them at least an inch apart, as they do spread. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the edges are a dark golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for a couple of minutes to firm up, then to completely cool on a rack. These are best served warm, but will last (if you let them!). They will soften over time, so if you want a cookie that stays a little crisper, increase the amount of your flour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup to make a slightly stiffer dough. Enjoy!