It’s amazing how a little cookie can be the key to a flurry of memories. Memories that are awash with the most endearing pastiche of smells, tastes, textures, and sights – of butter, spice, sweet, crumbly, golden brown, crisp, carom, cumin, laughter, and lips smeared with crumbs that stuck on to tell a tale or two. Butter cookies, both the sweet and savory varieties, were hot picks for evening snacks all through the growing up years in India. In the pre-oven era, they were made right on the stove top, with a bed of sand warming up in a heavy-bottomed pan, and the doughy blobs, neatly placed on a tin sheet over the sand, heaving and puffing slowly, before reaching a mesmerizing light brown edge.
With a few tweaks here and there, years hence, this is the way our Khara Biscuits crumble, having careened from rudimentary kitchens and ovens to slightly more refined ones.
Crackling and Crisp: Khara Biscuits
(Yield: about 15 biscuits, depending on size)
- All-purpose Flour/ Maida – 1 1/2 cups
- Whole Wheat Flour – 1/2 cup (WWF can be substituted with Spelt Flour too)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Butter, softened – 1/3 cup
- Sugar – 3-4 tsp
- Thick Yogurt (at room temperature) – 2 tbsp
- Green Chillies (minced) – 1 tsp (or according to taste)
- Coriander Leaves/ Cilantro (minced) – 1 tbsp
- Roasted Cumin Seeds/ Jeera – 1 tsp
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line the baking tray with parchment or grease with butter/ oil. Set aside.
Sift the flours and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar till soft, add the 2 tbsp yogurt and continue to beat. Add the flours and mix slowly, adding a little bit of extra yogurt if required. Mix in the chopped chilies and coriander leaves/ cilantro and roasted cumin/ jeera.
Roll the dough to preferred thickness and cut with cookie cutters of your choice. Place on baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and transfer to an air-tight jar when completely cooled.