Saturday, December 29, 2007
Benne Biscuit / Butter Cookies
For me it has always been "gunD"(round) biscuit. When my mom first started sending me to school, she says, she always had to bribe me with sweet treats. "ivattu neenu baro ashTaralli jamoon/gunD biscuit/shenga unDe maaDirtini" (I will make jamoon/biscuits/laddoo by the time u return). I guess, the thought of yummy sweetmeats waiting for me back home would make the ordeal of school worth it :-). I wish my son would ask the same from me.... but for him its always either M&Ms or LifeSavers or some other wierd colored candy stuck on a stick. The one exception however being, Jamoon. Its his anytime/anywhere kind of favorite sweet. Anyways, this one here today, is dedicated to the white, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth Benne Biscuit. When I talked to some of my friends, about putting this up on my blog, not one failed to remnicise and get all nostalgic over their favorite Iyengar Bakery back in Bangalore. Everyone wanted the recipe ASAP! Well, I remember my mom doing it(she still does) in a stove top oven which uses sand as the heating element. I use the convectional oven to bake it in. Mom's recipe calls for Butter/Ghee as the name says but, well, this recipe has a twist to it. I use the Crisco Shortening in place of butter. "Cheating" you may call it, but trust me, there is no compromise on the taste at all... after all, one needs to watch where the calories are going too... ;-)I recently had a chance to visit my friend in Minneapolis during Christmas. She has a 6 year old son and I thought, what better than to take him these home baked cookies. Christmas, cookies and kids... everything just gelled in. I dint forget to
take pictures...:-) So, here goes...All you out there craving for that favourite evening time snack, for that Iyengar Bakery Smell... have fun!!!
1 1/2 cups Maida/All Purpose Flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup poppy seeds, slightly roasted
1 stick of Crisco Vegetable Shortening. (Available in 3 stick packs. You can use either original or butter flavoured one)
A pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Raisins/cashews and cake decorating gel for decoration - Optional
1. Mix all the dry ingredients(except the ones for decoration) properly.
2. Add the shortening and mix well to form a soft ball of dough.
3. Take a little dough and make a small ball, rolling it smoothly in the palm of your hands. Similarly use up all the dough to make around 40 balls.
4. If using, firmly press either a raisin or a cashew on the top of each ball of dough.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
6. Place the cookie dough balls on a greased baking sheet at a distance of 1.5 inches each.
7. Bake at 350 degree Farenheit, for 20 minutes or until the cookies start cracking at the top.
8. Let it completely cool outside the oven, before you take it out of the pan.
9. Use the cake decorating gel, to your imagination. My mom would never approve of it, though. Keep it simple, she'd say.
Note: The dough should neither be too stiff not too soft. Adjust the consistency by adding more flour/sugar powder or more shortening. It also depends a lot upon the quality and age of the flour. So, experiment a bit, try for just 1/2 the quantity of shortening and all other ingredients, until you get a hang of it.