Old Brethren Recipe: Raisin-Filled Cookies (2024)

Published: · Updated: by Kevin Williams | 13 Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with raisins. For instance, I don't like when people ruin a perfectly good loaf of cinnamon bread by sticking raisins in it. And, Heavens, don't pollute my oatmeal cookies with raisins. No need for them. On the other hand, Amish raisin pie is something I can more than tolerate. It actually is pretty good.

I suppose we all have food inconsistencies. Forexample, my sister-in-law won't eat sliced tomatoes, but she'll enjoy tomato sauce. Anyway, I have a feeling that these raisin cookies are probably pretty darn good. This is an old recipe that comes from a German Baptist settlement in Indiana. I'd be tempted to leave the walnuts out of this, but that is just me...I might be pushing it have two foods that I have love-hate relationships with crammed into the same cookie: raisins and walnuts. Anyway, SIGH, the German Baptist woman who sent me the recipe did what many Plain people do in the instructions, she wrote simply "bake until done." Not the most helpful instructions in the world.

But I looked up a similar recipe online and found 10 - 13 minutes at 350, I was guessing 8 - 10 minutes, so let's just say 10 - 12 minutes. From her description in the recipe it doesn't sound like you're going to get a very golden cast to the cookie, so don't let that be your guide.

Raisin-filled cookies, old Brethren recipe.

I am posting a photo of raisin-filled cookies from Taste of Home because it gives you a visual guide as to what these cookies should look like. The recipe on Taste of Home is a bit different, the one posted here (I'm not biased) sounds better to me. Anyone have any idea why the baker would cool these particular cookies on newspaper?


2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening (lard or butter)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Approx 6 cups of flour
2 cups ground raisins

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 1 /2 cups chopped walnuts

Cook filling ingredients in a medium saucepan until it thickens. Add walnuts.

Roll dough out very thin. Using a 3-inch wide biscuit or doughnut cutter, cut enough to fill a cookie sheet. Put a tablespoon full or a nice big blob of filling in the center of each cookie. Now, using the same cookie cutter cut tops of each cookie. Using a thimble, cut a hole in the center of each of the "top" cookies on each of the raisin blobs, sealing all around with fingertips. Bake until done, usually not being brown at all. My Grandma always put them on newspaper to cool, so I do too!)


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Old Brethren Recipe: Raisin-Filled Cookies (5)

About Kevin Williams

Hi, my name is Kevin Williams and I am owner of Oasis Newsfeatures and editor of The Amish Cook newspaper column.

Reader Interactions


  1. Karen

    I usually cool my cookies on a newspaper because that's the way my mother did. It does soak up some of the grease from the cookies.


    • Kevin

      Karen, interesting...I'll have to try cooling cookies on newspaper sometime!


  2. Bonnie

    The cookies look great but remind me a little of mincemeat tarts without the spices.
    I would love to hear a comment of how they actually taste.


  3. Betsy

    My Mum made these all the time,with a few differences. She didn't grind the raisins, hers were much plumper...maybe more filling? And she neve cut a vent in the top. They are devine! Do give them a try,you won't be disappointed! A regional grocery chain with a half decent bakery makes these,and they are pretty darn close to Mums. She would have used Criso in the dough.
    I grew up on wonderful simple filling food,never knowing the roots until I bought my first Amish cookbook. Most everything was in there! We were always told we had "Pennsyvania Dutch" ancestors on Grandpas side. One thing Mum made was "slumgolian" (pardon the spelling!) Which I think is Amish too. Simple dinner of fried potatoes (hash browns) browned ground beef, peppers and onions,when it is all cooked,crack 8 to 12 eggs into the pan and cook till the eggs set. This was always one of my favorite dinners,and still is to this day! Quick,cheap and filling!
    Nice to see Geauga County mentioned in your other post. A small slice of heaven! An hour north of me,we go for the festivals. Spent lots of time in Burton as a kid,dad had family there. Spent a Thanksgiving evening watching the buggies pass by the house. I remember the snow,nearly a blizzard,what a pretty scene it was for a 5 yeard old! Then there is the story of the Amish girls working in my cousins home,keeping her English clothes and make up hidden so she could change when she got there! I wonder if the cousins "corrupted" her!
    It is not uncommon to pass by McDonalds in Middlefield and see a line of buggies at the drive-thru window!
    The drive there and back is amazing. From the colors of the laundry hanging to dry,to the smell of the fresh plowed fields,to stumbling across a house with a handmade sign saying there are eggs,or honey or syrup or...BREAD for sale. If you are really lucky,finding a roadside stand of all sorts of baked goods! Oh yes for me the holy grail!
    Aster and your niece are both just adorable!


    • Kevin

      Thanks for the post, Betsy...I so love Middlefield, I have not been there in years and years but my goal is to get back there sometime soon!


  4. Lea

    My grandma cooled cookies on either a towel or newspaper. I think she preferred the newspaper because it could be thrown out when she was done rather than washed. I remember her putting on layer of paper towels on top before putting the cookies on them.


    • Kevin

      Good tip for not having to wash another dish, thanks for sharing!


  5. Denise Fetters

    I make raisin-filled cookies every year for the holidays and they are absolutely delicious and fairly easy to make. My recipe is not like the one above but is from the Amish in central Pennsylvania. My cookie dough is very soft and delicious. I top them with a little sanding sugar and have never had anyone not like them.

    I no longer live in PA; however, my mother always made PA Dutch recipes.


    • Kevin Williams

      Denise, yours sound good, soft and delicious cookie dough is my favorite!:)


    • Denise Fetters

      After making the aforemetioned comment, I was called upon this summer to make my husband’s brother (in Raleigh, NC) raisin-filled cookies as he had not had them since his mother died. My husband’s sister visited from PA and they had a glorious time eating those cookies. I gave them the entire batch of cookies and they were thrilled! My husband and I didn’t have the nerve to take one of them:-). They are quite delicious and always a hit!


      • Kevin Williams

        Good to know they were a hit, Denise, thanks for the follow-up!

  6. Donna

    My Mother-In-Law made Raisin Cookies every Christmas to add to her cookie trays she would give to all of us, along with Molasses Cookies, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Chocolate Chip, and others. The Raisin Cookies were and still are my husband's favorite. Since her passing, he has taken on the role of the baker of the cookie trays for our kids and his sisters. Her recipe is very similar to this one, including using a thimble to make the hole in the top cookie, except she chilled the dough and filling overnight and used whole raisins and no walnuts. She put about 3/4 tsp of filling on the bottom cookie, covering it with the cookie with a hole and pinched the halves together using her forefinger to press them together. To bake, set oven to 350, and bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies are white, with maybe a very little bit of browning.


    • Kevin Williams

      Thanks for the comment, Donna, your description of your family's raisin cookies made my mouth water!


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Old Brethren Recipe: Raisin-Filled Cookies (2024)


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