Monday, September 28, 2009
It was a little startling to see the line of quaintly clad men and women suddenly appear on the lawn of my neighbor Connie's house, almost like they'd been transported there by a time machine.
And, to be frank, it's a group some Portlanders try to ignore in this city that fancies itself as über-hip and cutting edge. It just doesn't fit with the magazine images of heavily tattooed creative classes hanging out at watering holes sipping cocktails and grazing on small plates of organic greens.
And for the most part the Royal Rosarians keep a pretty low profile in town, popping up during the annual Rose Festival celebrations and escorting floats in the parade. But once in awhile they'll appear in their ice cream suits, capes and straw boaters, virtually unchanged from the founding of the club in 1911 (left), to plant ceremonial roses with a special chromed shovel and watering can.
Connie was honored this summer with such a ceremony (right), and baked her renowned raisin cookies to mark the occasion. As one of the invited guests, I was able to cadge the recipe and was granted official permission to share it. But don't be surprised when you pull these babies out of the oven to see a hungry-looking gaggle of white-suited Rosarians waiting on your front lawn for first dibs.
Connie's Jumbo Raisin Cookies
Adapted from the KOIN (TV) Kitchen recipe from Oct. 14, 1969
2 c. raisins
1 1/2 c. water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. vegetable shortening
2 c. granulated sugar
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Combine raisins and water in saucepan. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Pour off liquid, reserving 1/2 cup; add baking soda to reserved liquid, set aside.
Cream shortening, sugar and eggs with an electric mixer in a large bowl. In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, along with the reserved raisin liquid. Add raisins. Add nuts, if desired. Mix and chill overnight (optional).
Preheat oven to 350°. Drop dough on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray [or use non-stick sheet, etc. - KAB] and bake 10-15 minutes. Frost with lemon icing (optional).