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This started out as a mediterranian classic, but I didn't have the right ingredients, so I wound up inventing these cuties with what I had on hand! They're quite good, especially if you let them sit for a few days. I'm thinking about substituting a cup of dates for one of the cups of raisins to give it a deeper flavor, but really anything works here! A note about ginger: If you're using the power found in the spice aisle, you'll want to use a bit more as it's known for being a smite underwhelming. Likewise, if you use dried ginger (like Chinese #1 cracked), you might want to use a bit less as it can be quite potent. As always, work according to taste, and use all your ingredients per their specific instructions!
- If you're using dried ginger, reconstitute according to package at this point.
- Chop your walnuts in a food processor until smooth. (I like to bake them at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes first, to bring out the oils, but that's entirely optional).
- Add your ginger and grind in the food processor until distributed. (make sure to add the reconstituting water if you're using dried ginger).
- Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the mixture and blend for a few seconds to mix.
- Finally, slowly add the raisins, then the brandy, and process until the mixture begins to clump and form a large ball in the processor. (you may not need all 2 cups of raisins; it depends upon the amount of oil in the walnuts -- and the amount of brandy you decide to use! I'm always a little heavy-handed when it comes to liquors in my cooking, hehe).
- This next part is a little bit tedious. After kneading the honey into the mixture by hand, break off pieces of the dough with your thumb and index finger and roll into cherry-sized balls. These cookies are quite rich, so the smaller you make them the better. Make sure that they DO NOT TOUCH when you set them down, otherwise you're going to have to do it all over again. Also, if you find that it becomes difficult to roll the cookies, don't be afraid to wipe the oil off your hands.
- Now for the fun part! Roll your cookies in powdered sugar, place in a cookie tin, and enjoy!
- (I personally add this additional step: the day after you make the cookies, roll again in powdered sugar, then roll the sugared cookies around between your hands to give them a beautiful matte frosted finish. They almost look like marzipan if you do it just right; perfect for the holiday season!).