Speaking of back to school, another major concern of parents like me is the baon or food that the kids would bring with them. My dream is to turn my children’s lunchboxes into an art (like the Japanese with their bento), but since am a busy working mom, I know that is next to impossible.
Thankfully, there’s California raisins to the rescue. Frankly, this is one of my favorite ingredients owing to its versatility. I like the fact that I can use raisins in a salad, main course, dessert, or even a sandwich! You can munch raisins by their lonesome as a healthy snack or you can top them in low-calorie breakfast fare like a bowl of muesli or oatmeal. Some of the favorite dishes I put raisins in are embotido or meatloaf, menudo and of course, good ol’ macaroni salad.
California Raisins had an event at Enderun Colleges to give us an idea on how to make innovative dishes using their product. The special guest was no other than top pastry chef Miko Aspiras who I look up to as the owner of one of my fave dessert shops in town, Scout’s Honor in Century Mall Makati City. It was my first time to meet Chef Miko and I was kinda struck by how young he was. On that rainy evening, he taught the enthusiastic crowd his specialty – the cookie, of course – and how to work it using a basic cookie dough recipe (revealed at the end of this post).
It turned out to be an interactive affair because the audience divided itself into several groups to make their own cookie, in the style of Scout’s Honor. It was a competition too. We were asked to jazz up the cookies with a variety of toppings and the most delicious creation judged by Chef Miko and company will win.
Guess who won? haha. I think am just lucky it pleased the palate of the judges. I did hear from them they found it real good. Aside from containing raisins, my winning cookie was generously sprinkled with oatmeal, dark chocolate bits, then topped with almond slivers and diced bacon. It was a delightful mix of chewy, crunchy, sweet and salty.
Moral of this story: it pays to let your imagination run wild when experimenting in the kitchen. Always have a stock of those versatile ingredients too…you never get to know where you can use them.
Thank you California Raisins!
Raisin Cookie Recipe from Chef Miko Aspiras
170g California Raisins
85g brown sugar
85g white sugar
112 g unsalted butter (softened but not melted)
2 pcs egg whole
195g All purpose flour
2g baking soda
2 g iodized salt
1 g baking powder
2 g vanilla extract
1. Sift all dry ingredients together, set aside.
2. Using a hand mixer or a standing mixer, cream the butter, white and brown sugars using a
paddle attachment until mixture is light and airy.
3. Add in eggs one at a time, add in vanilla extract.
4. Using a rubber scraper or spatula, fold in dry ingredients lightly and evenly.
5. Lastly fold in raisins.
6. Spread mixture in a flat baking tray and chill until dough is firm.
7. Scoop cookie mixture (30g each) on a non-stick baking tray
8. Bake at 170°C for 6 minutes.
To know more about California Raisins, visit http://calraisins.org/ and www.caraisins.com or like them on Facebook at