Recipe: Portuguese Cinnamon Cookies (Raivas)

Makes 16

When I ask for a cookie, I expect to get a sugary, crispy, heart-racing cookie. Something that makes me thirst for milk. But that’s not always what happens. Take raivas, for example. These cinnamon loaded Portuguese cookies are subdued. Doughy. Bready. Dry. But don’t be fooled. The texture isn’t a mistake. They are made specifically for dunking. Dipping. Sogging-up coffee, hot cocoa or tea.

So why are we making Portuguese cookies this week, when we’re cooking West Africa? Simple. The people of Guinea-Bissau love Portuguese baked goods because they were a former Portuguese colony. Walk into any big city bakery and you’ll see what I mean. So, come along, let’s jump on the cinnamon train with the squiggliest, wiggliest, doughiest cookies I’ve ever seen

Inspired by Lindy and her adaptation from Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa.


8 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
3-3 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt


Put on a shirt with a wiggly design. Play a wiggly song. Vow to make wiggles, not war.

Here’s how you do it:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Then cream together sugar and butter in the bowl of a standing mixer.

When the mixture is light and fluffy, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Then, add in the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add just enough flour to have the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape as needed, but don’t overmix. If you do overmix, the dough will be as tough as that math teacher you were slightly scared of back in high school. You know the one. She was tall and demanding and was rumored to have either been a nun or a Sargent in the military.

If all goes well, you’ll end up with a deeply cinna-brown, moist dough that is surprisingly not sticky. And not as tough as that scary math teacher.

Cut it into four pieces.

Roll each piece into a fat log and cut each log into 4 pieces. Now you have 16 hunks of dough. Not to be confused with 16 hunks, unfortunately. Roll each hunk into a thin rope. See the ones pictured below. They’ll be long. Maybe 18 inches.

Twist and rope them into whatever squiggly shape your heart desires, placing them on a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Eat one or two right away. Try not to burn your fingers.

Kids will love these. As will the kid in you. Let her (or him) come out and play!

Nom nom.

Dip into a cup of hot cocoa, if you’d like. Perhaps our Guatemalan blend?

To celebrate the cookies’ plainness, serve on a plain day. When the sky is neither gray nor blue. When the air is neither hot nor cold.

Without wearing makeup, straightening your hair, or wearing high heels.

When you’re feeling, well, rather plain.

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  1. I believe we have a variety of ‘plain’ cookies also in Italy. The traditional cookies are all quite dry and plain. I found out the best way to have them is to dunk them in red wine, which is what is done traditionally, by the way. Not so appealing for the inner child, but they have their rustic charms this way.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’ve never done this – how interesting! Is it a sweet wine or does it matter? I’d love to try them – do you know what the cookies are called? (Incidentally, I’m part Italian and didn’t know about this – it’s funny how some traditions stick and others are lost to the wind).

  2. neat…I like this…save me some…

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