While I have been successful in keeping Aditi close to Indian food and cooking by making sweets such as coconut laddu, gajar ka hawla and badam peda, Indian bakes are something totally unknown to her – given that I took up baking only after landing in Canada. While she is pretty happy munching on Chocolate cookies and M&M cookies – both me and Nilesh crave for the Indian version of cookies – mostly salty and flavored with spices such as cumin and carom. I kept looking for a recipe and the one I tried was like a dream come true! This recipe produces perfect crunchy and ‘same as back home’ cookies – that made us nostalgic. To my surprise, even Aditi got hooked to these and now I am all set to try a carom (Ajwain) version. Another thing I liked about this recipe is that though egg-less, it does not use baking soda or baking powder – lesser the number of ingredients, the better I feel about the whole deal.
Recipe source – Cook With Manali
All purpose flour: 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Unsalted Butter : 1/2 cup (1 stick) at room temperature
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: 3/4 tsp (The original recipe says 1/4 tsp, but I wanted them real salty so took a risk and added 1/4 tsp 3 times, tasting a pinch of dry flour after every addition, till I did not feel salt on my tongue).
Cumin/Jeera seeds: 1 tbsp
1. Take out the butter from the fridge in a big mixing bowl for two to three hours. In winters, I have tried leaving the butter out at room temperature overnight and found it perfectly soft-but-not-melted in the morning.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Spread the cumin seeds on a baking tray and keep them in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. You will get a nice aroma of roasted cumin seeds. Take these out and let them be.
2. Mix in another mixing bowl – flour, salt and 3/4 tbsp cumin seeds. Make sure you mix these real well as we want the salt to be evenly distributed. I felt an urgent need to buy a sifter – which went to my ever growing mental list of ‘buy professional baking stuff’.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together – I use my hand mixer for 2 minutes, till it is light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour (to which the salt and cumin seeds were added) and mix.I used my hands to bring together the dough. The stuff has so much butter that it should not be a problem.
5. Now roll out the dough into a sheet – about 1/4 inch thick. Try to roll it out evenly, so that all the cookies are of the same thickness.
6. Pick a cookie cutter – these are traditionally round or a square with smooth round edges. I left it to Aditi to pick something to cut the cookies and she found the smallest round lid of something that fit her hand.
7. The 1/4 tbsp roasted cumin seeds that did not go in the dough – stick them on the cookies. I again got my six year old sous-chef do it.
8. Place the cookies on a baking tray in the oven – pre-heated at 350F.
9. Bake for 10 minutes. Take the cookies out and reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
10. Put the cookies back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Open the oven door and rotate the tray. Bake for another 5 minutes.
11. Place the cookies on a cooling wire rack. They will be all crunchy when completely cooled.