Friday, May 2, 2014

Delicious, “Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti” For National Raisin Week

As I started to think about what I would write about this week, I took a handful of granola, and I ate a raisin.  I love raisins in anything, from breakfast cereal, to salads, to baked goods, and even in a main entrée. Ironically I realized the first week of May is “National Raisin Week.” And there it is! My post is right before my eyes. There is so much information on raisins and how good they are for you nutritionally. So come with me and let’s celebrate the Raisin!

What is a raisin? A raisin is a dried grape. I know that they are plump and sweet, some are light golden colored and some are dark colored. Then there are “currants,” and they are from dried small Black Corinth grapes. The word raisin dates back to Middle English and a word that was borrowed from Old French. 

As I contained to do my research on raisins, I was not aware that raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used, and are made in a variety of sizes and colors including green, blue, purple, and even yellow. Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but may also be artificially dehydrated. Raisins can contain up to 72% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose and glucose. They also contain about 3% protein and 6.8% dietary fiber. Raisins, like prunes, and apricots, are also high in certain antioxidants, but have a lower vitamin C content than fresh grapes. Raisins are low in sodium and contain no cholesterol.

Raisins are actually considered nature’s healthy alternative to candies. Raisins have come to be known as a healthy snack food. So, the next time you crave for that something sweet, try eating raisins instead and take into consideration the following health benefits that they can offer:

1. Raisins increase your energy supply and help to build up your immune system.

2. Regular intake of raisins helps and aids to digestion, thus promoting a laxative effect.

3. Enhances mouth health, which provides protection against cavities and tooth decay. They also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis and periodontal diseases.

4. Enhances bone health due to the rich source of calcium that is bountiful in raisins. Especially if you are a postmenopausal woman, eating them helps to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

5. Helps with acidity reduction due to its potassium and magnesium contents. Raisins, helps remove toxins from the body, which may cause diseases such as arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart disease.

6. Treats Anemia, because raisins are rich in iron and copper, and are necessary in the formation of red blood cells. Raisins also help to correct iron deficiency anemia and promote blood clotting during wound healing.

7. And lastly for Cancer prevention. Antioxidants in raisins, known as catechin, provide protection against free radicals, which causes the development of tumors, specifically colon cancer.

So, just think all this fantastic information from a dried grape! Can you believe it? Mother Nature is so amazing. To celebrate and honor this small dried grape called a “raisin”, my recipe this week is a delicious Italian cookie that is called, “Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti.” Just a perfect way to end your day, with a crunchy, tasty, and sweet, Biscotti along side a cup of coffee or tea. Ciao!  

“Easy Raisin Walnut Biscotti”

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon: mix well. Next stir in walnuts and raisins. Divide dough in half and shape into two long loaves, 1-1/2inches in diameter. Place on greased baking sheet; flatten slightly. Bake 18-20 minutes, until firm. With sharp knife, cut loaves diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices. Place cut sides down on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen, depending on the size.

Till Next Time………………………………..........
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  1. Happy Raisin Week Dottie! Aren't raisins amazing! They are so good for you and adapt to most any dish. I love carrot raisin salad! (May is also Salad Month too:)

    I did a post about the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl a while back. Yes, she was a real person. You sure have gathered a wealth of healthy reasons to enjoy raisins. All that goodness in a dried grape, lol...

    I really enjoyed reading this post Dottie and those Biscotti look oh so yummy! I bet they would even taste good with my morning coffee. Thanks so much for sharing, Dottie. Have a wonderful weekend:)

    1. Hi Louise, Happy Raisin Week to you Louise! They are adaptable to almost any dish, I agree. One of my favorites is carrot raisin salad. That was the recipe I was going to use, but then realized that I post a salad last time, so this time, I thought about the Biscotti, which I love as well. I had read that May is Salad month as well. This month is a busy one, so many good things. I had read that the Sun Maid raisin girl is real. I usually use Sun Maid, I think that they are the best. So glad that you stopped by and enjoyed this post. The Biscotti is so easy and really good. A cruch now and then is a good thing, especially with coffee or tea. My grandfather would dunk the Biscotti in wine. I think I would rater something hot. Blessings for a wonderful weekend...Dottie :)

  2. Hi Dottie , what a wonderful post and so full of information . I do so love raisins , I made some oatmeal raisin -pecan cookies today and like you I only buy Sun Maid raisins .

    So glad to see someone elae likes to drip their Biscotti in wine ;-D so do hubby's aunt and I will make her some of these next week .
    My family is easy to please if the dish is homemade . Thanks so much for sharing and have a blessed weekend Nee :)

    1. Hi Nee, thank you for visiting today...I agree, so much info on this little dried grape.Wow, those cookies that you made today must be luscious and yummy. I just think SunMaid is the best, I have tried other brands, but they just do not compare.
      Seems that it is an old Italian thing to dip the Biscotti in red wine. I still like it with coffee or tea. So glad that you liked this post, I appreciate it. Blessings on a great weekend too! Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, I love raisins. The little red raisin box brings back good memories of when I was a child and when my children were little. I always carried a box to give them when they wanted a snack.
    The health benefits are a plus to the sweet snack.
    I do love a good biscotti to dip in a good cup of coffee.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Hi Catherine, Thanks for stopping by on this glorious day! Oh yes, that little red box was always in my snack list for my son and even when I was younger. Was a perfect size to stash it in your bag for the children. Plus you knew that the snack was good for them as well, not candy. I agree Catherine dear friend, a cup of coffee or tea is my favorite way to eat a sweet, crunchy, biscotti. Blessings on a wonderful Wednesday...Dottie :)