Garibaldi biscuits are crunchy buttery cookies, neither too rich nor too sweet, filled with soft currant raisins sandwiched inside. Every bite of these cookies has the taste of childhood.
The memory of these Garibaldi biscuits was rekindled by some raisin cookies that I was baking on the fly, some time last week after dinner. I was quite fond of these currant cookies as a child.
I seem to love baking cookies after dinner for some reason and I never quite follow any recipe or even less write it down when I’m baking at this time of the day. I let go to serendipity and it’s kind of like — a little bit of this, a little of that, I ‘feel’ the dough and know it’s okay.
So, a batch of some raisin cookies ended up with a texture that reminded me of the Garibaldi biscuits. I quickly jotted down an approximation of the measurements of ingredients, lest the recipe be lost forever into the ether!
And when this happens, Kevin often goes like “I know this is the one and only time I’ll get to savour this delicious exquisite cake because I know there isn’t going to be another one like this one ever again. So, I will take my time and really really appreciate every morsel of it because I know you didn’t keep the recipe and I will never know of this sublime taste again for the rest of my life. This is the best cake you’ve ever made and…” lol!
He will go on and almost cry, sobbing about the sad state of things of a lost unwritten recipe which happened to be the most perfect cake that he’s ever tasted. This mostly happens with cakes. It’s pretty hilarious and I’m not making this up!
I confess that I’ve lost many good creations in this way. So, maybe he’s got a point and I understand his pain. I don’t quite consider it a loss though as I thoroughly enjoy the process when I’m baking these kinds of treats on the loose.
What are Garibaldi Biscuits?
Back to the Garibaldi biscuits though. If you aren’t familiar with them, these biscuits originate from the UK and (according to Wikipedia, since I didn’t know that part of the history) was invented by Jonathan Carr who named them after Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Garibaldi was an Italian army general known mainly for his contribution to the Italian unification and had visited the UK in 1854. He was so popular at the time that these biscuits were created and named after him and the name has stayed to this day.
Regardless of the Italian name, these currant cookies are traditionally British and I remember them being available in Mauritius during the days of my childhood. Infact, I’ve come to know recently that a version of the Garibaldi biscuits used to exist in the US as the ‘Sunshine’ Golden Fruit Cookies. I’ve never had the US version and I’m guessing there may be just a slight difference between the two.
If any of you out there have had the chance to taste both, then leave us a comment and let us know if there’s any difference between the UK version and the US one. I’d love to know.
They made great afternoon tea time snacks or any time snacks. These cookies aren’t too sweet and the currant raisins bring in some natural sweetness that lessen the need for a lot of additional sugar. They are crumbly and slightly dry and there’s no better way to serve them than with an aromatic cup of cardamom spiced tea!
A distinct feature of the Garibaldi biscuits is that they come in long slabs that are lightly scored to define each cookie. If you’ve ever had these biscuits before, I’m sure you’ll agree that much of the satisfaction comes from gently pulling each biscuit away. To get that same effect and so that the homemade cookies remain attached, it’s imperative to only score the dough before baking and not cut through it.
Apart from currant raisins, you can use other types of raisins like sultanas, golden raisins or other dried fruits. If using sultanas or other fruits that are larger than a currant, I suggest to finely chop them first.
Watch the video for the easy step by step process.
Garibaldi Biscuits Recipe – Currant Raisin Cookies
I recommend using the metric measurement (weight) rather than volume (cups).
- 130 g pastry flour, or cake flour [1 cup]
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 45 g granular golden sugar , [¼ cup]
- 50 g margarine (vegan butter / non-hydrogenated vegan buttery spread), cold, [¼ cup]
- 30 ml non-dairy milk, like soy milk or almond milk [2 tablespoons]
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 60 g currants , [½ cup] or finely chopped sultanas, golden raisins or other dried fruits
- 1 tablespoon soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, (or 1 teaspoon sugar)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Add the margarine. Cut and fold the margarine with a butter knife into the flour. Then rub the margarine into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a course sand.
- Now add the non-dairy milk and the vanilla extract. Mix with your hand into a dough. The dough should be slightly crumbly, dry and non-sticky.
- If the dough doesn’t hold together, add just a little more milk (a teaspoon or two) but not too much.
- Place the dough in a container and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for about 10 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out and you’ll also get a nicer texture.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven at 180 C or 350 F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a large piece of parchment paper, lightly floured.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick and keep it as much as possible into a rectangular shape.
- Sprinkle the currants over half of the surface of the rolled dough. Spread out evenly.
- Carefully fold the other half of dough over to sandwich the raisins. Roll onto the parchment paper and gently press onto the currants while spreading and thinning out the dough a little more.
- Transfer the dough together with the sheet of parchment paper onto a baking tray.
- Using a long sharp knife, score the dough into strips of 4 cm X 7 cm (1½ inch x 2¾ inch). Only score the knife less than halfway through the dough so that after they are baked, they will still be connected and you can break the biscuits apart.
- For the glazing, mix the non-dairy milk and the maple syrup or sugar together, then brush on the dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Check after 10 minutes and keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning.
- If the top isn’t golden enough, you may broil the cookies for the last 3 minutes of the baking. But if you do this, I suggest you stand there watching as they can burn pretty quickly while broiling.
- After 15 minutes, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool. They will be soft when hot and will become crunchy upon cooling.