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Old-fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup raisins
1 cup water
¾ cup shortening
1½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. The Spice Hunter Pure Vanilla Extract
2½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. The Spice Hunter 100% Organic Cinnamon
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. The Spice Hunter 100% Organic Ground Cloves
2 cups quick-cooking oats
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

In a saucepan, cook raisins in water over medium heat until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Add enough water to the liquid so it measures ½ cup. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in raisin liquid. Blend in dry ingredients. Stir in raisins and oats. Add walnuts and/or chocolate chips if desired. Place teaspoons full of cookie mix about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.