I was looking for something a little different to take to the Aged Parent, who likes a plain, not too sweet cookie with her tea. Browsing the cookbooks, I came up with these. Raivas are Portuguese cookies from the Beira Litoral region of that country. Not that I have the foggiest idea where that is. I'd be delighted to go there and find out, should a patron appear to sponsor my research.
These cookies are fun, even silly, in the making, and absolutely and entirely plain. I think they are a fine example of their genre, the traditional non-fancy everyday treat, with class. They make an excellent after school/work snack and a perfect accompanyment to hot chocolate, coffee or tea- especially hot chocolate. They are a somewhat less indulgent substitute for those who might wish they could have chocolate and churros on a regular basis. (That would be me.) Because there are no distractions, the cinnamon taste shines through- so be sure to use good, fresh stuff.
As you will see, this would be an amusing recipe for cooking with children. Also, you can decorate with your cookies, and toss them in games of table-horseshoes, should your household norms permit. The recipe is adapted from Maria deLourdes Modesto's Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa via Nick Malgieri"s Baker's Tour.
The very simple ingredients are:
flour 2 cups
cinnamon 1 tsp+ to taste
sugar 1/4 cup
unsalted butter 5 tbsps
eggs 3 large
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the flour and sugar til light and fluffy. Whisk the flour and cinnamon together. Beat the eggs into the butter sugar mixture. (The eggs, butter and sugar are easiest with an electric mixer.) By hand, preferably with a large rubber spoon or spatula, mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Turn dough onto a floured surface, and knead once or twice, til smoothish. Do not over handle this dough, or it will be tough. Form dough into a cylinder, and cut into 6 equal pieces- then cut each of these into 4- for 24 cookies.
Line your cookie sheets with parchment or silpats. Roll each piece of cookie dough into a long thin snake on the floured surface. Join it into a circle, and set it on the covered cookie sheet. Then push the sides of the circle into the middle, making squiggly shapes. Bake six to a sheet, for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
Hint: Especially if working with kids, when rolling the snakes, and otherwise, don't handle the dough more than necessary. If you start rolling from the middle, moving your hands slowly out to the ends, it seems to work best. Just pinch any breaks together; they're supposed to be funny-looking. In the end, these were not a huge hit as cookies with their intended recipicent, who found them a bit difficult to maneover with a cup of tea. She was, nonetheless, amused.