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Spiced Raisin Swirl Shortbread Cookies

With cloves, coriander, and brandy-soaked fruit,these Spiced Raisin Swirl Shortbread Cookies are a beautiful light treat with your coffee or tea.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword almond, brandy, cloves, cookie, coriander, raisin, shortbread
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Servings 24 Cookies


Spiced Shortbread

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup almond flour (plus some for rolling)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander

Raisin Filling

  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • Zest of 1 lemon


Make the shortbread dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Blend in the lemon juice, egg, vanilla extract, and brandy until just combined.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, and spices). One cup at a time, incorporate the dry mixture into the wet until just combined.
  • Divide the dough into two parts. Form each into rectangle shapes about an inch thick, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour in the freezer (up to overnight).

Make the filling:

  • While the dough is chilling, soak the raisins in brandy for at least an hour (up to overnight). If soaking longer than hour, make sure to cover the container to prevent contaminations. Keep in brandy until use.
  • Whisk together the light brown sugar, softened butter, and lemon zest. Drain the brandy from the raisins (reserving for another use). Stir the raisins into the sugar mixture.

Roll out the dough:

  • Once thoroughly chilled, prepare the dough one half at a time. Dust a clean surface with almond flour to prevent sticking and gently roll out the rectangle in all directions. It should be about ¼ inch thick, with one long side closest to you slightly tapered thinner.
  • Spread the sugar-butter filling across the dough in a thin layer, spreading out the zest and raisins as evenly as possible.
  • Starting along the thicker long side, tightly roll the rectangle of dough towards you, so that the thinnest edge end ups on the outside of the spiral. Gently roll the tube of dough back and forth a bit so that it holds its shape. Wrap this tube of dough in plastic wrap and chill for another hour. Repeat with the second rectangle of dough.

Bake the cookies:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Once chilled, use a sharp knife to slice the log of dough into 1/4th inch rounds. Spread the rounds out on the parchment with an inch or so between and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy within 4 days.


Choosing a Brandy: I suggest using a traditional grape brandy (like French cognac) for this recipe, but only because its easy to find a drinkable bottle at a reasonable price point. Apple, pear, or whatever other brandy you have on hand (or can easily pick up) will all work equally well in this cookie.

A More Rustic Cookie: Converting this recipe to a drop-style cookie with less steps is easy. Omit the extra brown sugar and tablespoon of butter in the filling ingredients. Soak and drain the raisins from the brandy are proscribed above. Follow the directions for making the cookie dough, but before adding the dry mixture to the wet mixture, add the raisins and lemon zest. If you have the time, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for an hour, or at least as long as it takes for your oven to heat to 375 degrees F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper, and spoon out balls of dough, leaving an inch of space between on the sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just golden.