Golden memories: Sunshine Raisin Biscuits make a comeback

Remember Golden Raisin Biscuits?

If so, join the crowd. It’s amazing how many people are STILL searching for this packaged cookie, denizen of your local supermarket’s cookie aisle for decades.

That is, until the Sunshine Biscuit company was acquired by Keebler in 1996 (and Keebler subsequently by Kellogg’s). Though Sunshine’s Vienna Fingers survived the transition, Golden Raisin Biscuits were unceremoniously dropped.

As were Hydrox – which, despite their reputation as an Oreo knockoff, actually preceded America’s Favorite Cookie by four years: Hydrox were introduced in 1908, Oreos not until 1912.

Oreos survive. Hydrox graced the shopping carts of its last fans in 1998, though to this day its proponents claim the Oreo just can’t compare to Hydrox in its prime – to say nothing of its lame replacement, “Droxies.”

But I digress; back to Golden Raisin Biscuits.

Does this photo jog your memory? The modernized packaging and new flavors were a last-gasp effort to stave off extinction. Along with classic raisin, Sunshine extended the line to cranberry biscuits and apple biscuits, renaming the whole line “Golden Fruit.”

Alas, to no avail. Raisin Biscuits breathed their last in 1996.

Until now.

Attention, Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuit fans: these are not an exact match. The original was filled with raisin paste, and was just vaguely sweet, more the very thinnest of raisin pies rather than a classic cookie.

And you can make them that way, if you like. Stew some raisins with a bit of water and a touch of sugar, make your favorite pie crust, spread a thin layer of filling between two equally thin layers of crust, and bake until barely golden and pliable, rather than crisp: that’s a classic raisin biscuit.

These Golden Raisin Cookies are a more robust version. Filled with currants (or chopped raisins), topped with crunchy coarse sugar, and baked until crisp, they’re more nostalgic evocation than clone.

And a very good reminder of why the online hue and cry over Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuits has yet to abate, a full 15 years after their untimely demise.

Let’s make Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies.

First, lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line them with parchment.

Whisk together the followoing in a mixing bowl:

1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you use white whole wheat flour, for best flavor substitute 1 tablespoon orange juice for 1 tablespoon of the ice water (when you get to that step, below).

Add 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pats or small chunks.

Work the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers, a mixer, or a fork,  mixing until the dough is unevenly crumbly.

Next, add 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, enough to make the dough cohesive. Here’s where you may choose to substitute 1 tablespoon OJ if you’re using whole wheat flour.

Mix until the dough comes together.

Grab a handful; if it holds together willingly and doesn’t seem at all dry or crumbly, you’ve added enough liquid. You should be able to pick it up easily, without any dry chunks remaining in the bowl.

Divide the dough in half, and place on a lightly floured work surface.

A silicone rolling mat makes cleanup easy. Just sayin’.

Shape each half into a rough rectangle.

Press each of the four sides against your work surface to smooth any ragged edges.

Wrap the dough, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Towards the end of the refrigeration time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Take one piece of the dough, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a rectangle that’s about 10″ x 14″, about 1/8″ thick. Don’t worry about ragged edges; life is imperfect.

Crack 1 large egg into a bowl, and whisk to combine the yolk and white.

Brush the surface of the dough lightly with some of the beaten egg.

Spread half the surface (one of the “long” halves — a swatch about 5″ x 14″) with 3/4 cup of currants or chopped raisins, pressing them in gently.

Fold the other half of the dough over the currants…

…and roll again, until you have a piece of dough about 6″ x 15″. Some of the currants may pop through; that’s OK.

While it’s definitely not traditional, I like to sprinkle the tops of these cookies with coarse white sparkling sugar. It adds crunch and sweetness.

Even if you’re not adding the sugar, brush the dough lightly with some of the beaten egg…

…then sprinkle with 1/4 cup of coarse sugar, if desired.

If you don’t have coarse sugar but still want the added flavor, use a couple of tablespoons of regular granulated sugar. The cookies won’t look as nice, but will taste fine.

Now, trim the ragged edges of the rectangle; these will be the “cook’s cookies,” the ones you spirit away and eat yourself because you don’t care what they look like.

Use a baker’s bench knife or a rolling pizza wheel, carefully cut the rectangle of dough into three strips, lengthwise. Then cut each lengthwise strip into five crosswise pieces; you’ll have a total of 15 rectangular cookies.

Note: Be very careful if you’ve rolled the dough on a silicone rolling mat; you don’t want to cut the mat when you cut the cookies.

Transfer the cookies to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them close together; they won’t expand much.

See those raggedy cookies on the bottom? Those are the trimmed edges. Perfectly tasty; they just won’t win any beauty contest.

Repeat the entire process with the remaining piece of dough.

Bake the cookies for 14 to 18 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown.

Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Or cool them right on the pan, if you don’t need the pan for the next batch.

And there you have it: Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuits, in spirit if not in actuality.

Crisp/tender, buttery, and not as sweet as you might think. This is definitely a Boomer cookie: a veteran of the “swinging” ’50s and ’60s!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. bsteimle

    Oh, PJ, now you have done it. I look at this blog all the time and put things on my “must make” list. But this – now this is a for sure MUST MAKE!! I used to buy the Sunshine raisin biscuits and hide them from the rest of the family! Ahhh, I can almost taste them now.
    Thanks for that memory, and what looks to be a very easy recipe!

    1. JJ truth

      I miss the sunshine raisin biscuits which were always good with a steaming, hot cup of tea. But thank you very much! This recipe is just in time for the holidays & I can do some experimenting with the flavor this recipes will be treasured by me Keep it coming you baking genius!

    2. Anne

      If you can believe it, I was just looking for them tonight & came home to “search” for them. I haven’t given up, would swear I had them just a few years ago. Tea and Sunshine Raisin Biscuits was my usual breakfast (made the OB think I was diabetic with my “elevated blood sugar” when I was pregnant with my 3rd. They didn’t tell me to fast before the appt). And yes, I hid in the pantry to eat them! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to have my chef (1st kid) try these.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Definitely a “gone but not forgotten” favorite for many of us, Anne. So glad we could help you find a new source – and definitely “assign” them to your chef! PJH

  2. miller0814

    YIPEEE!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe! My mom LOVED these! I’ve searched online for them many times hoping to surprise her with a pack but have never had any luck. I’m going to make these for her for Mother’s Day!! Thanks!!

  3. margaret_roddy

    Oh, PJ! I worship you!! These were my favorite “store-bought” childhood cookie (and actually the only one, other than fig newtons that my mom considered healthy enough to feed the kids) and I’ve been searching high and low for something that would fill their void. You have done it (again) and I’m so very grateful. And with the white whole wheat flour, even better! Thanks again!

  4. cwcdesign

    OK PJ,

    Now you’ve done it! I was thinking about these when I was in the supermarket just the other day. When I was a kid, we called them “squished flies,” but we still ate and enjoyed them. I understand why I was able to find them briefly when my kids were little, but no more. I guess I’ll be baking this afternoon 🙂


  5. psitticus

    Sunshine Raisin Biscuits live in my fondest memory. The closest I came to finding anything similar were raisin biscuits from Sweden in a duty free shop in Aruba Airport. I bought a dozen packages and they are long gone. I cannot wait to make and try these. Thank you so much for bringing back this wonderful childhood favorite!

  6. clayandwattles

    Oh, I loved these cookies, the only “store-bought” cookies my mother would allow in our school lunches. Not that she didn’t always provide delicious home-made cookies; she did. But somehow, store cookies always appealed, and these were looked forward to with greed.

    I have made home-made fig newtons! And they were remarkably similar to the store variety, and very tasty (made them for my sisters wedding!) I look forward to giving this recipe a try!

  7. photopiggy

    Thanks for another great recipe, PJ! I have two questions for you. Do you think that I could substitute any dried fruit, like apples, cherries, or apricots? Also, is there an egg-free alternative that you can recommend for the egg-wash step? We’ve got an egg allergy in our house.

    Yes, I think any dried fruit would be fine. And you could simply brush the cookies with water, or water with a bit of cornstarch- should work just fine. PJH

  8. Rocky-cat

    I’ll be the contrarian here. I HATED those cookies but my mom would buy them constantly. I remember exactly how they taste because I disliked them so. Oddly enough, I liked the biscuit part, it was just the raisin filling that I couldn’t stand. I wonder how your version would be with dried cranberries, maybe with some orange zest? That sounds so much more appealing to me.

  9. calico

    PJ, the Sunshine photo has definitely jogged my memory. As I sit here, I can close my eyes and see this package in the kitchen cabinet at my parents’ house. My mom and I both loved them! Usually on Fridays, we would enjoy them with a cup of tea while we watched Oprah. I remember that they also went very well with a glass of orange juice. Mmmm, good stuff. Though, I have to say that I know for certain that your version is going to seriously outshine Sunshine’s. I love the added touch of the sparkling sugar. And when I make this recipe, I’ll be using the white whole wheat and orange juice. I also really like the silicone rolling mat that you use in the step-by-step directions. I think I’m going to order that either tonight or tomorrow (before the sale ends). I have a small kitchen and the idea of being able to roll this mat up and store it in the cabinet is very appealing. Thank you, PJ, for everything that you do. I enjoy the blog and all the recipes so very much! Lois

    Glad we could inspire some happy memories here, Lois – and yes, I love the silicone mat. Just be very, very careful cutting anything on it – you really can’t press down vigorously, you need to be gentle to avoid scoring it. Enjoy the biscuits! PJH

  10. kaf-sub-xwickslady18

    These cookies were one of my all-time favorites. They were the only cookie that my mother and I could eat that my brothers didn’t like. Not very sweet but oh so much flavor! If I remember correctly, it was with these cookies that my mom gave me my first adult cup of tea (more tea than milk!). I can almost close my eyes and taste them. Thank you so much for the memories -I’m going to check my cupboards and see if I have any currants on hand and bake these tonight.

  11. MPASC

    I cannot believe this!! My husband and I were just talking about Raisin Biscuits this past weekend! We loved them so much. I have no idea why they would have stopped selling that cookie. I am going to make these and have them ready when my husband gets home this weekend. I think the version that Rocky-Cat suggest with cranberries and orange zest would be good or versions with blueberries, raspberries, cherries etc…any fruit that would be dried (chewy but not too much liquid). I cannot wait to bake these. With any flavor…get the tea pot ready. Thanks so much.

    I think any dried fruit would work just fine, so long as it’s chopped fine enough. Go for it! PJH

  12. takefive34

    Oh, P.J., how I loved, loved, loved those Golden Raisin Biscuits….and how very disappointed I was – hubby also!! – when they were nowhere to be found! Not having much of a sweet tooth, they and Fig Newtons were my favorite store-bought cookies. Will definitely have to give raisin/currant cookies a try as the beauty of homebaked treats means that the sweetness level is yours to command!!!

  13. rachelk

    cwc – you made me laugh. My grandmother used to have these hidden away in her cupboard, and they were ‘our’ treat. She always called them ‘fly crackers’ and told me they had smashed up flies in them. It was always a special joke between the two of us, and it was a bonus that other family members never cared for them much.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to make it.

    I actually have a recipe for these called “Squashed Fly Cookies” – guess that was a common joke, eh? 🙂 PJH

  14. skater

    Rocky-cat I love your ideas! I adore anything with cranberries. Can’t wait to try both. I feel totally left out here; how did I survive childhood without these cookies?

  15. Esther

    In the UK, these are also known as “squashed fly biscuits” – so I think it’s a common name – we can still get them here (I presume they’re the same as a Golden Raisin biscuit) – In the UK, they’re a Garibaldi, they come in long flat packets, and you have to break off the biscuits as you go, as they’re baked in long stretches with the dividing lines scored on them… sometimes just “one” biscuit would “accidentally” turn out to be one VERY big biscuit!

    I’m such a rule-follower, Esther – I never thought to eat them without breaking apart. ONE cookie takes on a whole new meaning – I like your style! 🙂 PJH

  16. Barb

    Had to make this as soon as I saw your recipe! Used to buy them for my husband and never thought of making them..and then one day they disappeared from the grocery shelves. He says they are even better than store bought (wise man there).This is a great, quick and easy recipe to follow. Decided the raggedy edges were part of the homemade charm so didn’t need to trim much. Thanks for the recipe and the memories.

    My pleasure, Barb- glad your husband liked them – he’s a wise man, indeed, to praise his wife’s baking! PJH

  17. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - FMP-FASE - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    Can´t wait here to test the whole wheat varsion with granola and rolled oats.
    Nice post P.J.

    Thanks, as always, Ricardo – hope you’re well. PJH

  18. Maureen

    Oh. My. Goodness. You have brought back a flood of childhood memories. I loved these and can’t wait to make your beautiful version. (Why didn’t I buy more currants at the grocery today?!)
    I’m also a big fan of the coarse white sugar, and everyone is always amazed by how good it is on cookies, pie or bread. You think of the greatest things, PJ! Thank you for unlocking the secrets of our lost favorites.

    Food memories are just so compelling, aren’t they, Maureen? Like Proust and his madeleine, certain foods bring back that “flood of childhood memories…” PJH

  19. "Linda S"

    I remember the old Sunshine packaging was transparent, you could see the cookies through it. And the score lines weren’t straight–they were a bit wavy, as I recall. I think you could use a pastry wheel or something similar to cut them if you really want more authenticity.

    I’ll have to give these a try…it’s always great when you do your own versions of our old favorites!

    On that note….one long-gone favorite I’d love to see you try and remake: I used to LOVE the old Pillsbury Pineapple Creme Bundt cake mix. They stopped making it a few years back, and I’ve gone crazy trying to find a recipe that would be similar. That creme filling was SO yummy…but I can’t find a clone of it anywhere online, or at their own site. I don’t think it had cream cheese, it was more like a vanilla pudding-type.

    I know I could try using a pudding mix, but I really want something that comes as close to the real thing as possible. If the folks at KAF want another challenge, this might be it!

    Here’s another idea for you: maybe you could offer a once-a-month challenge where readers submit a request for a long-lost favorite or a popular snack (like you did with Twinkies), and you choose one to do. I’m sure there are so many old favorites that are available, so you’ll never be bored trying to bring back a little bit of yesterday!

    I always look forward to the blogs no matter what, though, there’s always something great waiting in there!

    Thanks for all your hard (I SAY hard, but you probably have TOO much fun) work!
    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for chiming in here. I like the idea of readers suggesting a challenge for us. We do have an ever growing list of recipes we’d love to try , or reader suggested recipes to create, so don’t ever hesitate to send us a request. I’ve never had the Pineapple Bundt cake, but it sounds delish! Just one more to add! ~ MaryJane

  20. Big Red

    Just a hint if you want to avoid the ragged edges, is to spread the raisins in the middle of the dough and then fold the dough into the middle, leaving a straight edge. Instead of covering the bottom half, leave a quarter on the edge and fill the middle.

    Thanks – great tip! PJH

  21. "J. J."

    Oh bless you! I had a similar recipe and lost it! I’ve used all kinds of dried fruit as long is you can finely chop them up. Using the food processor made short work of the tedious chopping! My favorite combination was a mixture of orange cranberries, cherries and apricots. The only limit is your imagination for combining dried fruits. I can’t wait to try out this version!

  22. Natalia Rivera

    There’s a biscuit with a squished raisin filling available in Asian markets called Khong Guan Sultana Biscuits. I’ve never tried the Sunshine version, so sadly I can’t compare the two. Here’s a review and product label:

  23. Lorraine

    So many memories of my Dad are wrapped up in King Arthur and now this!!! I can’t TELL you how many times I’ve thought of these cookies and wished they were still around. My Dad bought these when we were kids and we LOVED them, always had some in the house. We didn’t eat a lot of sweets as kids but these were allowed. I’ve been wishing and looking for them ever sense as a reminder of my Dad who passed away almost 11 years ago. I will make these in his memory and eat them with much love. Thank you so much.

    Good memories are priceless, aren’t they, Lorraine? Glad we could help bring them back for you – enjoy the cookies! PJH

  24. Susan Taylor

    I have to be Gluten Free, would I be able to make these with GF flour? My husband and I loved these! It would bring back wonderful memories before Celiac!
    Thanks for the memories!!
    Hi Susan,
    We haven’t tried these as gluten free, so if you decide to give it a go, please let us know the results. ~ MaryJane

  25. craftylady32812

    OMG!! Just the other day I was in the food store with my son and mentioned I wish they still had those raisin cookies I used to love as a kid. He gave me a strange look when I discribed them. Well, wait till I present him with these babies!! Thanks so very much for the memories and the great recipe. Can’t wait to bake them tonite. You guys are great!
    Ruth Howard, Orlando, FL

  26. dariawalton

    Kellogg’s obliterated so much packaged snack history with that acquisition. Sigh. Crown Pilot crackers have also disappeared (as of the past couple of years) – if you have a decent replacement recipe that would be nice, too.
    We’ll add the crackers to the wish list 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  27. tarragonmh

    I remember these well. We couldn’t get them in Arizona, where I grew up, but we would have them when we went “back East” to visit family. They were one of those foods that for some mysterious reason were never to be found west of the Mississippi. Those, and pork roll. And Tasty Cakes. Now, if you could duplicate a Tandy Cake I just might think you’re a genius. 🙂

    Tandy cakes, from what I can see, look pretty attainable: yellow cake baked thin in a jelly roll pan, spread with peanut butter, topped with melted chocolate that hardens up as it cools. Does this sound like what you’re looking for? PJH

    1. Pat

      OMG – pork roll! Tarragonmh you must be from Jersey. When I first moved to New England I asked for pork roll at one of the supermarkets here. They asked me to describe it. Um, well, it’s pork, in a roll, and you have to cook it. 🙂 It’s pretty much a mystery product outside of New Jersey. Nowadays I can get it at my local Shop Rite – probably since they’re a NJ company.

      Love these biscuits too, and will be trying the recipe later today.

  28. Nicole

    Being Canadian I never had the original but I’m intrigued. I’m also wondering just how they differ from eccle/eckle’s cakes (I know that’s a puff pastry [I think], as well as round).

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Nicole, Eccles cakes are a lot thicker/goopier – at least the ones I’ve had. More a pastry than a cookie. These are very thin, and quite dry. While I’d eat Eccles Cakes with a fork, these can be eaten out of hand, as you would any cookie… PJH

  29. Jess

    I’m looking forward to trying these — and I would love it if Clayandwattles would post her/his recipe for fig newtons!

  30. Teresa

    I never had the Sunshine Golden Fruits, but they sound a lot like other similar biscuits that are made overseas called sultana biscuits. I find them in Asian supermarkets. They are lightly sweet with a very thin layer of raisin paste. Of course, you can’t beat homemade, if Asian supermarkets aren’t available. I love the texture and just sweet flavor.

  31. lucyprice

    I have had a wonderful idea after reading through the blog. I am going to make these with a combination of regular, golden and red raisins, chopped just enough to leave the colors a bit visible through the dough. Thank you so much for creating this recipe.

  32. catieartist

    I am not sure why, but my mom ever bought these, and I never knew them for my kids.
    Without those memories, I don’t feel the need to recreate the original. Although there are other things I would love to add to your “to do list” 😉
    I have been thinking of other creative fillings. However, since I am trying to bake without wheat, would these be viable using half barley flour, and half oat flour? or all barley? Should I add the xanthan gum, or equivalent for cohesiveness, but since they do not rise, it seems like these would work for a non-wheat treat.
    I was excited when I saw these, just because they seem workable to convert to non-wheat! Then I can create my own memory inducing treat!
    Thanks for your help, Catie

    Catie, these would be a challenge to make GF using the original recipe. Try our GF pie crust recipe for the crust; I think you’d have better success. Good luck – PJH

  33. lemitche

    FYI-The Vermont Country store DOES sell and equivalent cookie.

    Yes, I’ve had them, and they’re good – but with shipping, and the price, quite expensive, compared to homemade… Thanks for the tip, though- PJH

  34. Shanna

    I tried to make these yesterday and it was a disaster. My dough didn’t look anything like the pic after getting it mixed up. I used AP flour…maybe that contributed. But I only added 2 T of H20 and it still came out REALLY sticky. Don’t know what I messed up, but by the time I was done attempting to roll it out and putting in the raisins, I was laughing my head off at the mess I’d made. I ended up with about 8 or 9 misshaped lumps of raisins that were occasionally covered with dough. They sure didn’t resemble anything in these photos.

    I’m getting ready for a bake sale this weekend, and I’d been in the kitchen all day. These were my last recipe of the day, so I had been dealing with issues off and on all day. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh! New recipes sometimes just don’t work out. I’ll try these again another time. They were misshapen lumps, but tasty!
    I am sorry for your troubles and for your mess. We’d be happy to talk through this recipe with you if you’d like to give us a call on the baker’s hotline: 802-649-3717. ~Amy

  35. cartvl219

    I’m planning to make these in a few days. I have currants but they have been around for a while and seem quite dry. Should I soak them to soften them up a bit or maybe steam them?
    I don’t know how long these cookies were on the market but I think I remember them from the late forties or fifties. I think my mother bought them occasionally and I bought them for my kids. Was thinking about them fairly recently but hadn’t searched the store shelves. Now I can make my own!! 🙂

    Hi Carolyn, Unless those currants are as hard as gravel, there is no need to worry. But if they are that tough, lay them out on a dinner plate and spritz them with water from a spray bottle. You’ll only want to mist them. Then cover the plate tightly with a piece of plastic wrap allow them to rest overnight. By morning they’ll be much more tender. Frank @ KAF.

  36. Marsha

    Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuits are not quite extinct, though they are on the endangered species list. You can still get them at any grocery store in England (and British Commonwealth nations) under the odd name of “Garibaldis.” But the airfare is a bit hard to justify just to indulge my cookie (biscuit) longing, no matter how much I love them. I also have a similar recipe from New Zealand for a cookie (much like this recipe)–people there call them “fly cemeteries” because the chopped raisins look like…well anyway, thanks, thanks KAF for the recipe. I have found other recipes online but this one is way better. Marsha

    Amazing how many variations on the “fly” theme I’ve seen – including Squashed Fly Cookie, in our own Baking Sheet newsletter. And yes, Garibaldis are the real deal, and you can get them at Vermont Country Store – but again, the price is prohibitive – esp. when you can make your own reasonable facsimile! 🙂 PJH

  37. martrl

    I just made these and they are wonderful. I too loved these and have looked for them in the past. What is the best method to keep them fresh as i want to take them to a party tomorrow and do not want us to eat them all before dinner. Another nostalgic favorite of mine was the tunnel of fudge cake with the macaroon filling. Maybe you can add this one to the list. Thanks for all the great recipes.
    These can either be kept in an air-tight container or wrapped in foil or plastic inside a cookie tin. Good luck resisting them before the party! ~Amy

    1. Maralyn Woods

      Oh my gosh! I had forgotten all about the Tunnel of Fudge cake. I would bake it in a bundt pan and when I would cut and plate the first slice the family would gasp at the beautiful coconut filling running perfectly through the middle. Felt like such a STAR!

  38. Donna

    Thank you for this recipe! After searching in stores for the biscuits my grandmother always had, I found this and tried it right away! It brought back the taste from my youth, and my family loved them! Easy, too, and I had everything in. Thanks again!

    Glad you enjoyed them, Donna. It’s always neat to be able to re-create old favorites, isn’t it? PJH

  39. cartvl219

    PJ – Do you get The Vermont Country Store catalogs? I just received the Christmas issue today. On the back cover they show Garibaldi Biscuit Bars!! Apparently lots of people requested that the store carry them. I imagine they’re imported from England. I’ve looked them up online and they seem to be readily available in Britain. Lots more fun to make them ourselves!

    Yes, I’ve actually been to the VT Country Store and seen these, but can’t bear to pay the price – I feel better making my own! PJH

  40. Betsy Rogers

    I just came across this recipe (during a search for “what ever happened to Sunshine Raisin Biscuits”?). Can’t wait to give it a try!

    One question, though. The printable version of the recipe calls for vanilla, but I don’t see vanilla mentioned in the step-by-step recipe above. Should I add vanilla or leave it out? I don’t remember the Sunshine biscuits as having any vanilla “notes”, but if you say it belongs in there I’ll do it – if it means I’ll be that much closer to re-visiting the yummy Sunshine biscuit.


    Nope, no vanilla notes – how did that pesky vanilla get in there, anyway? 😉 Thanks for the heads-up, Betsy, I’ve fixed it. PJH

  41. feigles

    Actually the old Raisin Biscuit Cookies ARE STILL AVAILABLE @ ” The Vermont Country
    1 3.5oz Package for $3.15….but you have to order 6 of them.
    Reinvented by Garibaldi.
    Just saw them offered @ Christmas time.
    Like I said YOURS LOOK Tastier !!!
    Blessings, Donna Marie

  42. Ray Zinman

    I have to post this, as I longed for these cookies for years to no avail. Then, I watched a lady on youtube making them and we did that a couple times to good effect. However, yesterday, in Seattle, at an ethnic Chinese store/mall, I found a packaged cookie called Sultana Biscuits, made by Khong Guan in Singapore. They are pretty darn close (not perfect) to the Golden Biscuits. At least close enough to warrant buying them compared to the hassle of making my own. They’re pretty cheap too.

    Good for you, Ray – seek and ye shall find (eventually), eh? Thanks for sharing – PJH


    I have found a UK company, Crawford’s, that has made pastries since 1813. The first fruit biscuit was probably made during the Roman era, but Crawford’s started calling theirs “Garibaldi Biscuits” in 1854, to honor that hero’s visit to Tyneside that year. Garibaldi declined to dine with dignitaries, preferring the food and company of the working class. Anyway, you can go online and order Garibaldi Biscuits from Crawford’s. Not as good as Golden Raisin Biscuits, but then, nothing is ever as good as you remember it.

    True, Gary. And I do like the ones I make myself – Golden Raisin Biscuit Cookies. They’re a bit rough around the edges, but very tasty! PJH

  44. Mona

    Just made these and they came out very well. Was wondering why there is a photo of melted butter, the recipe says chilled. Also, did not have the sanding sugar for the tops so substituted turbinado and the results are quite sparkly and crunchy.

    Mona, if you’re looking at the picture of a tablespoon of liquid being poured into the mixing bowl – the chilled butter is in the bowl, and that’s orange juice I’m pouring over it. We’ve found OJ helps temper the sometimes strong flavor of whole wheat. Glad you enjoyed the cookies! PJH

  45. jms3

    I ordered the Garibaldi raisin cookies from the Vermont Country Store for my husbands Christmas stocking last year. They were expensive, but definitely tasted a lot like the Sunshine ones my hubby loved as a kid. Will definitely have to try this recipe.

    I think you’ll enjoy this homemade version – and much easier than waiting for mail-order cookies. 🙂 PJH

  46. Pang

    After trying to duplicate these much loved cookies, found this recipe. Wonderful, as close as possible to the commercial Sunshine cookies. And so fast and easy to make. I roll the dough out, transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet, fill, roll once more and use a ravioli cutter to get squares. Then the egg wash and then a sprinkle of raw sugar. They separate easily after baking. Sometimes I use chopped figs or a chopped grape medley, instead currants. Son says they are better than the ones he remembered as a child…. what Pop-Tarts were trying to achieve.

  47. emdavisms

    I still want the original sunshine biscuit raisin biscuit. the cookie was actually a cross between a cookie and a biscuit. I don’t see the egg glaze on this cookie like the original biscuit. but, thanks anyway.
    Yes, this recipe has that delicious sparkling sugar everywhere. You could do an egg wash instead! Elisabeth

  48. Angel

    I made these and they were quite yummy, but I wanted to let people know that if they have an Aldi grocery store that the apple-raisin crisp cookies are the closest thing I’ve found to Sunshine’s biscuits.

  49. Susan

    Just back from Scotland where we found the Garibaldi raisin biscuits in the grocery stores. We ate them with fond memories and although they were not exactly like the ones we had in childhood they were close enough. I know Vermont Country Store has them in a smaller package then we got in Scotland and at about $1.60/pkg there, figuring money conversion, less expensive than VCS. I am going to try this recipe and see how close I can get to the original biscuit. I know they’ll taste good and will be cheaper than a trip abroad and even mail order. Thank you King Arthur.

  50. Arlen Morris

    I have been looking for a recipe that mimics what I think are the Garibaldi Raisin Biscuits. I had one years ago. I tried yours but they did not seem quite sweet enough or something missing. May have
    gotten too much flour when rolling. But still would like your take on the Garibaldis

    Arlen Morris

  51. ks

    In the last few months, I started having a strange craving for those raisin biscuits I knew in my childhood. I couldn’t remember who made them but, I would know them if I saw them. I haven’t been able to find them anywhere and I’m surprised to find out how many other people are interested in them, after so many years. On another note, I found King Arthur’s flour a few years ago and couldn’t believe the difference in taste.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Enjoy the memories brought back to life – while they don’t look the same, they certainly taste very similar. Thanks for the kind words about out flour – PJH

  52. john p

    I’ve been looking for these cookies for years not knowing Sunshine stopped making them. I love them in memory so much that I looked them up to see if I could order them from Sunshine. I moved to Florida thinking they were only sold in the north east. Sunshine you broke my heart and now I have no reason to live.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      John, John – they once were lost, but now are found – right here! Let us pull you back from the precipice, please – make these, and you’ll regain your old zest for life, I promise. 🙂 PJH

  53. Eddie Pittman

    Great to find this recipe! I’ll be making it tonight. BTW, I just got back from a trip to Japan where my host stocked my room with snacks. One of these snacks was virtually identical to the Sunshine Raisin Biscuit I remember and is called All Raisin (ironically, one of the few uses of English I saw in Japan that accurately described the product). Here is link if anyone is interested:

  54. deborah imhoff

    in the 60’s Sunshine had a box of cookies out called YUM YUM Cookies….they where actually like a little mini candy bar..but i loved these cookies…little chocolate bar with rice crispy center…loved them…can you give me any news about these cookies or anything similar that could compare to them..thank you..

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Deborah, these cookies do seem to be fondly remembered by many in the online community. Some feel that Girl Scout Samoas are the closest match today.~Jaydl@KAF

  55. E

    Doesn’t taste at all like the sunshine raisin biscuit cookie but I like the cookie because it is different. I used the one tablespoon of orange juice but I must admit you cannot taste it. I give this recipe four stars out of five.

  56. Janet

    Can you get away with less butter in this recipe?
    I love these low sugar cookies but did not remember that they had as much fat as a pie crust.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Janet, you can certainly use less butter and drizzle in a bit more liquid to bring the dough together; the cookies will be noticeably tougher, that’s all. Lower fat = less tenderness. But they’ll still taste good – PJH

  57. Matt

    Very tasty, but they didn’t have the same chewy consistency as the Sunshine brand biscuits. Or at least that’s how I remember them, as you said it’s been several years since they were available.

    To more replicate that chew, do you think add more fat or more sugar? Either way, they turned out great and I enjoyed them as a snack on a long hike.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Matt, I’d say bake them a bit less, and increase the filling a bit; those should both add chew. Let us know if you try these variations, and how they come out. Happy hiking! PJH

  58. mona

    I am in my late 50`s…I used to enjoy these in ny as a youngster and teen…mentioned them to my partner but they never had them. As a gift last year I was given ten packages from the one store mentione. d
    f the one from Vermont C store…thanks for the recipe… I will try to make one with truvia so certain it will come out well…I am a diAbetic…now I need to locate sparkle paints…

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Patricia, I order these for my husband sometimes (since he’s not a fan of homemade baked goods, more’s the pity!). They’re not an exact match, but pretty close. A bit pricey, but if you just HAVE to have them, well, what can you do? 🙂 PJH

  59. N Carnahan

    I remember when these were made by Nabisco, years before Sunshine began making them. Amazing, isn’t it? With the apparent popularity of these great little “biscuits”, and the market they provided for California grape industry, the US baking companies closed down the product line.

    My travels to Holland and parts of western Europe allow me to enjoy them when there. They are made and sold by more than one baking company. They make versions that have apple, raisin, pear, etc., fillings. All are good.

    Thanks for the recipe. King Arthur flour is my favorite!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Wow! That is nice to hear that our recipe really measures up N! Thanks for letting us know. Elisabeth@KAF

  60. Linda L

    Read this through several times but I could not see an oven temp…? did I miss it? They are in the oven right now at 350 convection

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you look at step 5 of the actual recipe on our Recipe page it says 350 degree F. Here is the link to the recipe. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  61. Pat R.

    Thank You!!!! I have made these several times and love them. Whoever discontinued these cookies made a big mistake. I think they would sell very well in grocery stores.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re welcome, Pat! I remember a cookie like this that the girl next door always had in her lunch box. I was envious. I think you’re right, these could make a comeback at stores too! Barb@KAF

  62. Richard

    I was trying to remember the Sunshine Bakery product of my youth and a friend stumbled across your blog post and recipe.

    I tried it, it was great, tried it again, great again.

    So, I tried it with dried cherries: great. Tried it with dried apricots: great!

    I do like raisins the best though.

    These are great cookies and while this recipe isn’t an exact replica of the original, my memory of the original isn’t all that high fidelity at this point either so who cares, these are probably better than the original.


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I love your other dried fruit suggestions! Dried cherries or apricots would be awesome in this recipe. Barb@KAF

  63. SweetiePie

    I made these today to have with tea and finger sandwiches, in celebration of the new royal baby girl for William and Kate (The Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge). These are delicious and not too sweet! Thanks to the poster that wrote they are Garabaldi Biscuits, because I was able to look at other recipes and combine with this one. I added English mixed spice and Fiori di Sicilia, which really kicked-them-up a knotch. These will definitely go in the tea recipe file. Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Those sound like lovely additions to this recipe. And happy new royal baby girl to you and yours! Barb@KAF

  64. Lit'l Bitz

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. We were on a family vacation and all of my sibs starting talking about old candies and treats no longer available. The raisin cookie (none of us could remember the name) came up. When we looked it up we saw it was not being made. I did just find a british company Crawfords who make them…..just in case you’d rather buy them than make them yourselves. I’m going for homemade first.

  65. AlyB from Michigan

    Quote from my husband: “Wow, these are wonderful, just like I remembered Sunshine Golden Fruit.” A big THANK YOU to PJ Hamel and King Arthur Flour for creating and posting this recipe. My husband remembered these cookies a few weeks ago, and when we found out they were no longer made, I said I would try to make some using this recipe that we found on your website. I never had these as a child, so I didn’t know how they were supposed to look, so I really appreciated the step-by-step instructions with photographs on your website. This was a huge help as I made these cookies. I got them right the first time, thanks largely to the photos. They were easier to make than I expected. I made these for my husband’s 49th birthday.

    1. AlyB from Michigan

      I forgot to mention that we also got Crawford’s Garibaldi Biscuits and my husband thought that the cookies from this recipe are better, more fruity, more like the original Sunshine Golden Fruit.

  66. Brenda Boston

    Doesn’t Keebler understand that these are the most delicious raisin biscuits ever created. They would make a gazillion dollars if they brought these back. No offense to yours, but it’s just not the same. But I will try making your version. You know, the Krystal would make a gazillion dollars if they’d bring back their Chocolate Ice Box Pie. There are still a lot of us older folks still around, remembering those delicious foods of the 50’s and 60’s. Thanks

  67. David Spector

    I remember the taste of Sunshine Golden Raisin Biscuits clearly, and I doubt that its complex crunchy/chewy mouthfeel and sweet/plain flavor mixture could be reproduced by your recipe or by Garibaldi biscuits (both of which look different in photos). There are companies that still sell discontinued candies (like Necco valentine hearts, which came in two sizes). Maybe such a company will one day offer original Golden Raisin Biscuits again. Interesting how we can get so attached to a product but take it for granted until it is gone. Thank you so much for your website; I hope it lasts as the Web changes.

  68. Cynthia

    will definitely try…. i miss them so much! Another favorite was the Sunshine/Nabisco? Pantry Molasses Cookies. They were flat, smooth and crispy! They had a lot of ginger flavor in them too. There is a close one in Canada… called Ginger Biscuits… please please email me if you can figure out the recipe! Making the raisin bars tomorrow! Thank you very much!!!! 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cynthia, might you be trying to make your own Gingersnaps? They’re packed with both molasses and ginger. You can more the cookies crispy if you use butter, softer if you use vegetable shortening. These Soft Molasses Cookies are equally delicious; it sounds like you’re looking to make crispy cookies, but you could always give these a shot and bake them for an addition 2-3 minutes. Hope that gets you headed in the right direction. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  69. judith williams

    I have been hunkering after “Fruitana” cookies for years. About once a week I have a craving for them and can never find them in the stores. They were a staple of my mother’s household in the 50’s, along with Fig Newtons, Hydrox, and Vienna Fingers. Oreos are imposters. It’s hard for me to believe that a homemade version will approximate. Also, I don’t bake. The homemade picture looks like it has sugar flakes on it. Fruitanas had nothing but a light glaze on top. There was just something about it.
    The homemade ones may be great, and I may try to make them, but will they replicate the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Fruitanas?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’ll never know until you try, Judith. 😉 Feel free to tweak this recipe as needed to meet your personal taste preferences. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  70. Bobbie Yarborough

    When I was about 6 or 7 , (born in 76) my Mom Had a favorite cookie she ate constantly. It was an oatmeal raisin iced cookie & shaped like a peanut. It had white icing covering the entire bottom & white thin iced lines over the top. It was soft. I aware it was made by Keebler or Nabisco. It was a well known cookie maker in the grocery stores & in one of those noisy, clear plastic trays with a clear wrapper. I have searched & searched the internet & shockingly enough-i can’t find a thing on them. Those cookies & Planters Cheez Balls in a canister were the only thing I ever remember my Mom eating when I was a child.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Bobbie,
      I can *almost* picture something like that in my mind from the same time period. I would highly recommend getting in touch with Phaedrus over at He’s excellent about finding “lost” recipes and past favorites. He might not be able to find a copycat recipe, but at least he may be able to help with the name of the cookie etc. Good luck! ~MJ

  71. Ken K

    Great article. Nabisco had a copycat cookie called Sultanas back in the 50’s, but Sunshine was better…just like Hydrox was better that Oreo. Also gone are the Mallowpuffs…pink or white marshmallow, topped with coconut, on a soft graham cookie base. Nabisco also had a copycat cookie called Fancy Crests. Alas the 50’s were the height of cookie joy. Glad I experienced it! Ken in CA…Brooklyn native however.

  72. Kaye

    I now live in the USA and really miss old fashioned English biscuits. We still have these in the UK we call them Garibaldi biscuits and every supermarket has their own brand. They are the ultimate low fat treat back home. If you are there grab some for me! Or rather buy online. But I think I will make some of my own.

  73. Wes

    My all time favorite cookie. I have a standing order for a box of 12 packages of Crawford’s Garibaldi Cookies every month from Amazon. It is the UK version of the Sunshine Raisin Fruit biscuit. Definitely not as sweet as Sunshine, and a bit dryer, it is the best I have been able to come up with since Sunshine disappeared. Looking at these, well, they might taste the same, but they sure don’t look right. And all that sugar! Ugh, no, no, no, there was no sugar on the Sunshine. I’ll try the recipe, and use Splenda instead of the confectioners sugar. Thanks for the recipe….

  74. Marty

    I have a similar recipe. I cook the raisins with brown sugar, water, and a bit of cornstarch, then rough buzz in the food processor. Love the idea of adding orange juice to the dough.

    In my 1960s school years the Hydrox/Oreo dichotomy was in full swing. I’d eat either. Some friends would not eat if Oreos were being passed around. I finally found out why in my senior year: Hydrox were Kosher.


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