My scrawled notes in The Joy of Cookies tell me that I baked these Russian raisin rusks on the third of January. I have apparently been too busy to write about them, however, until now. And the only reason I’m writing today is I’ve been given this brief window of time with nothing else pressing to do … at least nothing that I have along with me in this coffee shop.
More like biscotti or Zweiback than cookies, these rusks are baked twice: once in loaf form at a moderate temperature, and then cut into slices that are baked on each side at a lower temperature. They took a little under two hours to make, but three-quarters of that time they were in the oven in one form or the other. Great for someone who’s a little lame and ought to be off her foot for long stretches of time. That would be me.
Sharon Tyler Herbst compares them to biscotti d’anici, and while they are similarly prepared, there is no anise in them. Lemon zest, almonds and golden raisins, some of which are ground with a little of the flour before adding into the mix, are the dominant flavors. She also suggests that orange zest can be substituted for the lemon, which I imagine would be delicious. I really enjoyed them, but the verdict from the rest of the family is a resounding “meh” and so I have given them away.
As far as I can tell iziumnye sukhariki, or изюмные сухарики (Ms. Herbst provided the Romanized spelling and I have deduced — hopefully correctly — the Cyrillic), translates roughly to raisin croutons, or rusks. For more on rusks and biscotti and other twice-baked, long-lasting treats, check out Wikipedia: rusks.