Afghan DoubleTree cookies: cardamom raisin walnut cookie Recipe
The merging of my two worlds could not be epitomized more beautifully than in the recipe I share below. Growing up, my mother was infamous for her raisin walnut cake. It's a scrumptious and dense cake that marries together so many of the unique flavors in Afghan cuisine. As I became a baker, I slowly inherited the recipe, making it on demand every time my family would visit from California.
Raisins themselves are an intricately deep part of Afghan culture and cuisine. My grandfather had a very large grape farm in Herat, Afghanistan. His fields were flowing with so many different varieties of grapes, which were often also turned into raisins. He spoke dearly of these grape fields, ones my mind's eye envisioned and my heart yearned to see someday. As it was difficult to preserve fruits outside of their season in their original form, raisins became a prominent part of Afghan cuisine due to their long lasting nature.
They are now available via export to the US, and every raisin from Afghanistan that I've had the fortune to run across has become a coveted item in my kitchen. Growing up in Ohio, it was difficult for us to access these groceries and so we would purchase them when we visited family in areas with dense Afghan American communities, and carry them back in our luggage like precious gold. Living in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, I'm fortunate that there are many Afghan grocery stores in my area, but this instinct to protect any Afghan raisins I get a hold of has not left me.
A few weeks ago, my brother who is an avid fan of DoubleTree's infamous chocolate chip cookies shared the exciting news with me: the recipe was now shared worldwide. I have a deep soft spot for chocolate chip cookies, and in particular, DoubleTree's bites of perfection have actually swayed my decision on where to stay for a night. It was in this moment that I realized the two parts of my identity, my Afghan and my American selves could meet most beautifully in the birth of the combination of two flavor profiles that were fundamental components of my palette: raisins + chocolate chip cookies. I share with you here my Afghan twist on the infamous DoubleTree cookies (the recipe below is an adaptation directly from the DoubleTree cookie original recipe).
Afghan "DoubleTree" Cookies Recipe:
Raisin Walnut Cardamom Cookies
½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons cardamom powder
¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ⅔ cups black raisins
1 ¾ cups chopped walnuts
Soak raisins in a bowl covered with water.
Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Add eggs, cardamom and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl.
With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.
Remove raisins from water.
Remove bowl from mixer and stir in raisins and walnuts.
Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.
My favorite Afghan raisins can be bought online here:
Find the ingredients locally at a store that carries Afghan groceries near you here: