Indian Mithai & Desserts

Kaju Biscuit – Buttery Cashew & Cardamom Cookies (Eggless)



Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indianMemories tied to food is a wonderful thing, isn’t? I say it more often than not but I am an emotional eater. I get bouts of voracious eating depending on if I feel happy or sad that day. Sometimes I just cook and eat solely because that food is supposed to be associated with the season,or only coz a bowl of warm kheer (rice pudding) will see me through that dull, gloomy day or because I got to know about it when I chatted with mom or some aunt in the family last week. You can categorise these cookies as a baking activity that happened on such a whim. I spoke to mum the other evening discussing the picky food habits of my daughter and she happened to mention if I have tried feeding her ‘bakery wale biscuits‘ with milk.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indianAll along mixing the dough, the only thought that rattled in my mind was how these should taste of cashew predominantly & not just flour and sugar, just like original ones from a little bakery with blue & white candy cane style painted walls near my house in Delhi.

Sinfully Spicy - Kaju Biscuit, Butter Cashew Cardamom Cookies #indian

Ingredients(Makes about 4.5 dozen)

  • 3/4 cup cashew meal (I used ready-made cashew meal from Trader Joes you can grind raw cashews to a (not very fine) powder at home if you do not get ready made)
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups confectioners sugar/castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 green cardamom pods, break open & powder the seeds
  • a generous pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped raw cashews
  •  1/4 cup oil (any neutral oil will work)
  • 2 – 5 tbsp cold milk (just so the dough comes together, I used 3.5 tbsp)
  • Cashew bits for top (optional)

Method

In a bowl, mix cashew meal, flour, sugar,baking powder, soda & salt together. Dump the flour mix in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cardamom & nutmeg. Add the butter cubes. Pulse for a minute or so till the butter becomes pea sized.

Remove the metal blade and fit the dough blade in the jar. Add the 1/2 cup finely chopped cashews. Add the oil. Start the processor and start adding cold mix 1/2 tbsp at a time till the dough just comes together. Stop. Open the lid and take out the dough on a clean surface. The dough will be slightly sticky & loose but that’s okay. Knead gently with dry hands for a minute or less and bring it together. Divide into two portions. Wrap the dough portions in plastic/cling film. Make sure that the cling film is large enough since we will be rolling the cookies later in it. With the help of your palm, flatten each wrapped dough portion. Refrigerate for at least 30-35 minutes or till firm. Now, if you plan to bake them later, you can freeze one or both of the dough halves.

Once the dough is firm, roll the flattened dough still wrapped in the cling film to a square sheet about 1/4″ thick. After rolling, refrigerate the rolled out dough again since the heat from your hands and rolling will melt the butter.

Preheat oven to 300F. Line cookie sheet with parchment/ wax paper. You might need a couple of  baking sheets or you can bake in batches.

Once the rolled dough is firm, using a sharp knife, cut very small squares (about 1/4″ by 1/4″) since these cookies will spread quite a bit while baking. Try to cut as evenly sized squares as possible. Press some cashew bits on top and arrange the squares about 2″ apart on the baking sheet. Refrigerate again for 20-25 minutes.

If you do not want to roll the dough, pinch small portions of the dough, shape into balls and press few cashew pieces on top.

Bake the refrigerated cookies in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes till the cookie bases start & edges start turning golden brown and the top cashews changes color. I like my cookies slightly brown so I baked them a few minutes more, about 22 minutes.

Let cool completely on the sheet before storing them in air tight containers for up to 3 weeks. Serve with hot chai.

Indian Mithai & Desserts

Coconut-Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Coconut Shortbread is rich & crispy on the outside and crumbly on inside. These shortbread need just 5 ingredients are super easy to make. These cookies are scented with ground cardamom are perfect for when you need a quick treat.

I find my husband raving about coconut cookies from his hometown bakery quite often.The discussion comes up mostly on weekends when we have the time to sit together for morning tea. I took the discussion a little further & asked him last week- after all what’s so special about them? Soft and chewy inside, crispy outside, overly sweet but something with a perfect balance of textures – a cookie that  leaves behind ghee laden coconut taste in the mouth – his prompt reply made me wonder if he waited all this while to be asked 🙂

I knew what was baking for the next few weeks. First few batches were extremely dry, I almost burnt the bottom each time & obviously the ratios went haywire. I felt extremely uninspired to try more so I left it for a few weeks. What can terribly go wrong with loads of ghee (clarified butter),coconut & sugar? A question I asked myself all the while – however I have experienced in all the years that when a recipe calls for few ingredients, getting the right outcome is much more difficult.

What is a Shortbread?

A shortbread is a crumbly rich cookie made with butter (or any equivalent fat), sugar and flour. These are traditional scottish biscuits and unlike usual cooking they do not contain any leavening agents like baking powder or soda.

Coconut Cardamom Shortbread

We are a shortbread loving family. I am a huge fan of baking recipes that call for very few ingredients and I always reach out for such easy cookie recipes which are easy to make. My family is a fan of coconut confections and these cookies are a great after school snack as well. Coconut, ghee & sweet smelling cardamom are clearly the star here – the ingredients make these cookies enchantingly indian. If you are nuts about coconut,then you need to try these.

How I make the Coconut Cookies?

I simply add the dry ingredients to a bowl and start mixing. Freshly pounded cardamom makes a lot of different so make sure you use that.I mix the cardamom powder with flour, desiccated coconut & sugar and add ghee till the dough feels that it is just enough. I have mentioned the exact quantities I used in the recipe card but if you ask me, making a shortbread requires a little bit of impulse and feel as well. The dough will feel just about right when it is so 🙂

Ingredients Needed for the Coconut Shortbread Cookies :-

The recipe is real easy & despite a lot of room for error, it runs good in the oven. I always make small batches of 15-18 which are enough for us. The best part about the recipe – just five ingredients. Quality of ingredients plays a huge role thereby, try using the best.Below are the ingredients you will need :-

Desiccated Coconut :- Unsweetened desiccated coconut is one of the important ingredients in this recipe. Toasting the desiccated coconut lightly is a great way to add extra flavor to the cookies.

Powdered Sugar :- Store bought powdered sugar has cornstarch in it and that lends a structure to these cookies.

Ghee :- We are going to use melted ghee to bind the dry ingredients together and form a dough.

Here is a short video of how to make these shortbread cookies.

Variations :-

  1. You can add finely chopped nuts to these cookies. Chopped almonds or walnuts taste really good.

A few more things to be kept in mind when you bake these shortbread :-

  1. These cookies are on a sweeter side. If you want them less sweet, reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup and accordingly use 5 or 6 tablespoons ghee to bind the dough.
  2. I have seen that the quality of desiccated coconut also affects the texture of these cookies. I use fine grated desiccated coconut (as you can see in the video). However I have made these cookies with longer grated coconut (as shown in picture) and the texture was a little more chewy in the latter case.
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Coconut Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Easy to make, these cardamom scented coconut cookies are crispy on the outside and have a soft crumbly inside. They are perfect for when you need a quick treat. Super simple to whip up, these cookies need just 5 ingredients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 15 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoon melted ghee

Instructions

  • Dry roast the desiccated coconut flakes on extremely low heat for about 3-4 minutes or till you start smelling the aroma, taking care that flakes do not change color at all. Transfer to a plate & let cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt & powdered sugar to remove all lumps.Combine cardamom powder with the sifted flour mix. Mix the desiccated coconut next and rub the mixture with fingers or mix with spatula to combine everything together.
  • Add 3 tablespoon of ghee to begin with and start combining. Thereafter add 1 tablespoon ghee at a time and gently mixing the dough till you get a soft dough. Do not mix too much, just until everything is combined. The dough will be slightly sticky. Wrap the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until firm.
  • Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Take out the refrigerated dough and knead it again 2-3 times. Pinch 15-18 equal portions of the dough. Roll each portion between your palms into a smooth ball with no cracks.Line the balls on the parchment paper. Press lightly using back of fork.
  • Refrigerate again for 10 minutes. Meanwhile Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Bake on the middle rack for 13-15 minutes keeping a close eye, these cookies should not change color while baking.Once you see the bottoms turning brown, remove from oven and let cool completely on the sheet. They will be really soft while they are warm. Store in an air tight container at room temperature for upto 3 weeks.

Notes

  • These cookies are on a sweeter side. If you want them less sweet, reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup and accordingly use 5 or 6 tablespoons ghee to bind the dough.
  • I have seen that the quality of desiccated coconut also affects the texture of these cookies. I use fine grated desiccated coconut (as you can see in the video). However I have made these cookies with longer grated coconut (as shown in picture) and the texture was a little more chewy in the latter case.
  • Depending on how the dough feels, you will need a tablespoon more or less of ghee. The idea is to use ghee to make the dough similar to how we use water to knead the dough for making flatbreads.