Archive for the ‘Biscuits’ Category

This week’s baking: Buttery Jam Sandwich cookies, mock bourbon biscuits and Artichoke pizza!

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I wrote a few weeks ago about the summer in Houston and about making frozen treats like Kulfi, but now I have to make a U turn on that and say we have been having non stop rain for the past one week, which actually makes me wonder how we are supposed to have a normal Hurricane Season if the weather is playing such tricks.

So, what else can I do other than to turn on the oven and bake some cookies to enjoy with tea and rain? One of the earlier recipes I posted when I had just started blogging was this Butter Biscuits(Iyengar Bakery style), but the response I get for it is just like the Houston weather- some say it turned out perfect, some say it was a disaster, so I thought of revisiting the same recipe but making them as Jam cookies.

Couple of things to consider before baking these cookies:

-Follow the exact measurements and exact method, baking is all about measuring. If you do that then there is no need to read other tips that follow this one 😀
– You have to keep the butter and eggs at room temperature, there is no point in beating a frozen block of butter with sugar forever in a mixer.
-Chill the dough(this is a dough, not a scoop and bake muffin) for atleast 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
– Knead the dough once it is out of the refrigerator, the once crumbly dough will be ready to roll out then. Do not add water or milk, knead first as the butter will soften as you need, then if it is still rough, add 1 tbsp of milk and knead again.
– Or better way is divide the cookie dough into two parts, roll out one part, cut out the cookies and bake them. Check if is up to your taste and alter the other half of the dough before baking.

I made this jam sandwich cookies following this recipe from Countryliving.

You can make it as plain sugar cookie, or jam cookie or use nutella as a filling 😉

With the ingredients given here you can make 40 cookies(20 sandwiches).

3 1/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 1/4 cups Butter, softened
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 large Egg
1 tablespoon Milk
2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract(I used pineapple essence)
1 cup Jam(I used strawberry jam)
2 teaspoons Confectioners’ Sugar- to dust(optional, I did not use it)

Method:

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat the butter and eggs together till they are soft(it wont be like a liquid, it is OK).

To the butter-sugar blend, add eggs, milk and essence and beat well again.

Beat in the flour mixture until it is combined(now this will look like a crumbly dough).

Divide the dough, chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Just before you are ready to bake, pre heat the oven to 365F.

Take the dough from the refrigerator, divide it into parts, keep the unused part covered. Roll out the other part and cut out cookies using a cookie cutter(any shapes if you have preference).

I just lined the baking trays with foil paper(as there is too much butter in the dough I knew it will not stick to the paper). Transfer the cut out cookies to the sheet, leaving space in between.

Bake at 365 for 8 minutes. (yes, the cookies will look undone and very soft to touch but let it cool down and it will harden as it cools, if you bake till the cookie is golden brown in color, it will be very hard cookies when it cools down).

Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Repeat the same method for the other half of the dough.

Sandwich 1 teaspoon jam between 2 cookies when the cookies have cooled down. Store in an airtight container.

What I did to the second half of the dough: I added about 4 tbsp of cocoa powder and kneaded the dough again, then I just cut out some cookies in to squares, rectangles etc.,made some fancy designs on top(poked a few dots, drew some lines) and baked them at 365F for 8 minutes. Now if you add nutella filling to this cookie and dust it with sugar this does taste like bourbon biscuits sold in India!

Other fillings you may want to try: Peanut or almond butter, other flavored preserves.

And no, I am not going to say my son loved these- because he hates all sweets and avoids anything with sugar(Yipee!! No cavities), but N and I loved it with a hot cup of tea :)

The next one I baked was this artichoke and cheese pizza. It was one of those days when my son refused to eat at home, so a quick trip to chipotle and a kid meal was more than enough for him. And he hates the all american cheese pizza too and since I had to make dinner just for us, I baked this pizza. The dough for pizza is from this recipe , I did the one hour rise only and for the toppings I just spread some pasta sauce, mexican blend cheese, onions, peppers and frozen artichokes. Baked it at 400F for around 10-12 minutes. Simple but satisfying dinner.

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Coconut Macaroons

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Baking cookies or bread just makes the house smell so good in the evenings and it makes N ask the question,”Whats cooking”? as he comes home. This recipe is one of my favorites as it reminds me of the coconut biscuits sold at bakeries in India.N likes the nei biscuit(butter biscuit) and this one and the coconut-cherry filled buns are my all time favorites. My mom used to buy me these goodies on the way back home from school and when I think back of those times it just reminds of the people I love.

There are many recipes to make a macaroon- one with condensed milk and one with sugar. I like the version with sugar and I use Alton Brown’s recipe from Food Network to make these cookies. I use the dry powdered coconut sold at Indian stores for this recipe as it literally melts in the mouth when you bite into the cookie. You can also use sweetened coconut flakes but it gives a chunky feeling and kind of an oily feeling so I stick to the powdered coconut/dry coconut flakes.

You have to be very careful when you bake these macaroons- if the sugar is too much then the cookie is like a candy, if you add more coconut then it tastes dry and chunky. Adding too many egg whites makes the batter runny and you cant bake at all!

Ingredients: (I can make about 20-22 cookies with this measurement)
4 large egg whites (or about 3/4 cup egg whites if you are using break free egg products)
Salt- a pinch
Sugar- 1/2 cup
1 (8-ounce) package sweetened shredded coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the coconut till it is light golden brown in color(whether you use powdered or sweetened toast it for 1-2 minutes).

Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer/hand mixer for about 5-7 minutes so that the egg whites form a foam and then becomes stiff like a peak when you remove the mixer. Set aside.

Slowly add the sugar and coconut and fold in the mixture without mixing it too much as it will break the fluffiness of the batter.

Using a spoon, drop a tablespoon quantity of the cookie batter into the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes till the top is golden brown.

Let it cool down. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Serve with tea or coffee in the evenings.

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Onion Cookies

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Cookies with choco-chips or peanut bits or almonds are irresistible with a cup of tea in the evenings. When I have something sweet, naturally, I am encouraged to make a pakoda or bajji to go with it 😉

Or I have pair the cookies with left overs from the weekend frying batch- Murukku or thattai. I was thinking of making some savory cookies, adding some potato or carrots with the usual dough, like a savory muffin or something similar to a puff and thought of all sorts of combinations to put into it.

This onion cookies are inspired from this recipe. When I baked these cookies, it gave the aroma as if I was making pakodas and I was actually waiting near the oven for these to come out!

Ingredients: (Makes about 15 cookies)

All purpose flour- 1 cup
Olive oil- 2 tbsp
Finely chopped red onions- 1/4 cup
Chopped cilantro leaves- 2 tbsp
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
White Sesame seeds- 1 tbsp
Water- just enough to knead

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Mix salt, baking powder, flour, roasted cumin powder, sesame seeds and red chili powder together.

Once the powders are all well mixed(otherwise one cookie is going to be salty or spicy than the other), add the chopped onions, cilantro and mix evenly.

Pour the olive oil and start kneading slowly with adding little amount of water till the crumbly texture turns to that of a chapati dough like consistency.

Dust a rolling pin with some flour and press the dough to 1/4″ thickness( or according to the thick-thin level you like). Cut the dough to any desired shape with a cookie cutter.

Arrange the cookies in a baking tray and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or till the top turns slight golden brown in color. The cookie may look unbaked but it will bake as it cools. Even if it is undone, you can slightly bake it again.

Serve the cookies with tea. These are baked, but they were crunchy! If you like you can also add some peanuts or roasted salted cashews with the onions.

These Onion Cookies are going to a Bakeoff event at Versatile Kitchen.

These cookies are also my entry for Srivalli’s Kids delight Snacks event.

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Masala Crackers

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

While browsing through other blogs I saw an version of savory biscuits(crackers). It was an interesting recipe as each one had either a combination of masala powders or grains or nuts and herbs. Over the weekend I made a batch of these crackers to munch with tea in the evening and the best part is it is not a deep fried snack like a bajji or pakoda.

These are very simple, takes about 15-20 minutes and you can make varieties of crackers every time with a basic recipe.

Ingredients: (Makes about 15 large crackers)

Wheat flour- 3/4 cup
All purpose flour- 1/2 cup
Rice Flour- 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Red pepper flakes- 1-2 pinches
Roasted cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Water- to knead (1/2-1 cup approx)

Method:

Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

Mix all flours together, add salt and baking powder to the flours. Add roasted cumin powder, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds and cumin seeds. Add olive oil to the flour and knead lightly to get a crumbly texture. Start adding water slowly till you can knead it like a chapati dough(firmer, not a soft dough).

Dust the rolling pin with some flour and flatten out the dough to 1/4″ thickness. With a cookie cutter (I used a round shape), cut the dough into desired shape. I made some like sticks(strands) and some into round shapes.

In a baking tray, line up the crackers and bake at 350 for 20 minutes till the top of the crackers look golden in color. Do not keep baking till it looks like a well done cracker, as that will be too hard to even take a bite. Most cookies and crackers will bake as they cool, so take them out and let it sit on the counter top. Even if they are undone, you can slightly bake them again. Once the crackers have cooled, store them in an air tight container or a jar. Use it within 2-3 days.

Serve with tea for the evenings or with any dips. These crackers are going to Divya’s Sunday Snacks event.

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