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Does anyone remember those California Raisins commercials? The California Raisins were at their heyday when I was a child, so naturally, I was completely obsessed with them. I had all sorts of California Raisins swag--from a beloved sleeping bag to some 30 different figurines... (bless my mom's heart, she still has all of them in a box in her attic).
But perhaps what I loved most about the California Raisins is that every weekend I was able to drag my parents to Hardees for their Raisin Biscuits (You see, kids got a California Raisins figurine back then, if their parents bought biscuits).
Really, I couldn't have been happier. I loved those biscuits. and I got a free toy!
Anyway, I'd forgotten all about those biscuits until a recent visit with my parents. My mom was kindly reminding me that she had all this stuff from my childhood in her attic (I'm telling you, Lindsay, you should sell that stuff on ebay!) when my Dad butted in to ask me if I remembered the California Raisins... and because parents always like to go that extra step to make sure you do remember, he starts singing "I heard it through the grapevine" (my Dad is really cute). Then, mid-chorus he stops himself and says "Do you remember those raisin biscuits at Hardees? Gosh, I really loved those. They're probably not healthy... Hey! You should try to make those vegan!"
I love my Dad.
So the task was upon me to make these biscuits---and I have to say, I'm overwhelmed with pure joy at how well they came out.
They're whole wheat but still so light and fluffy... I mean, just look at them:
And even though they're "drop biscuits" (forgive me, I'm too lazy to roll out dough) they still manage to bake into a nice, circular, biscuit shape.
The icing, however, has created quite a stir in our household! I like to add a little lemon or orange juice to the icing (that's how I remember the biscuits tasting--with a hint of citrus) but Scott swears almond extract is where it's at. I tried it both ways (and also with vanilla extract, and just plain soymilk) and really, you can't go wrong. It's all really delicious.
I also found (& tried--I'm obsessed, clearly!) with Susan FFVK's pumpkin-raisin muffins. I got the idea from her to use white whole wheat flour instead of pastry here -- and I think that's the trick. Her biscuits are more traditional and need kneading and cutting, but I really love the idea of pumpkin being added in.
A copycat of Hardee's famous biscuits only vegan, fat-free and whole-wheat...though you would never be able to tell!
2 cups whole wheat flour (white)
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp light brown sugar (optional)
⅓ cup raisins
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
½ cup nondairy milk
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp nondairy milk
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (feel free to use more or less) and sugar, and whisk to combine. Add raisins, stirring a few times to ensure even distribution. Add applesauce (10 tbsp) and stir until the batter is lumpy with chunks of dough. A light flour dusting is okay but make sure there are no pockets of flour on the bottom or sides of the mixing bowl. Also be careful not to over stir--those lumps are important. Next add 1/2 cup nondairy milk, stirring until a wet, thick doughy-batter forms. It should be somewhat dry, so add remaining nondairy milk (some flours are not as thirsty as others, so if yours is plenty moist, do not add extra nondairy). Drop spoonfuls on your cookie sheet, leaving a few centimeters room between each so they can spread. For round biscuits, use clean fingers to shape and smooth out each drop into a circular fashion. (Yield 13-15 biscuits.) Bake 9-12 minutes until firm to the touch, and golden around the edges.
For the icing, mix powdered sugar with 1 tsp liquid such as nondairy milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (the best!), fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice. For a thinner icing, add more liquid. For a thicker icing, add more sugar.