I love festivals – the preparation, the rituals, the dressing up, the decoration, meeting people, gifting – so it’s a good thing that I live in India and we have plenty to go around! So when I married a Malayali, I figured there would be a whole host of South Indian festivals to add to my calndar!! Last year, I really looked forward to my first Onam. Unfortunately, AK had a terrible bout of the flu and we were housebound! So this year, we decided to make up for it.
It’s a 10 day festival, with the 10th being the grand finale. We make Pookkalam (flower carpet – usually in a particular circular pattern), visit the temple, have a Sadya (the Onam feast – usually consisting of 20-30 dishes including rice, curries, pickles, papads & banana chips served on plantain leaves).
My father in law decided to cook the Sadya, leaving me with no culinary contribution to make. Not to be left out, I decided to make some form of sweet. I wanted to make a dry form, but none of those traditional dry sweets like Barfi, Laddoo etc have I even experimented with, let alone mastered. So I thought of searching for cookies with an Indian twist and found 3 recipes I liked – Coconut, Date & Walnut, Saffron & Pistachio. All from Anushruti’s blog. Since they are all eggless recipes, it was an added advantage as they were 100% vegetarian (usually an important consideration for festival sweets) and my granny could have some too. She misses out on all my baking cos there’s egg in the recipes!
And I gifted them in 4 airtight cookie jars like this:
Unfortunately, I hardly have any pictures of the process. Two main reasons: 1) I began making these at 7 am and there was NO way AK would wake up to take pics at that time; 2) I attempted some myself, but it started raining very hard and the light disappeared. I don’t have any skill with the camera and couldn’t manage anything in that light. So I’m just going to share the recipes and add some assorted pictures at the end! Sorry 🙁
I. Date & Walnut Cookies (30)
225 gm whole wheat flour (Atta)
200 gm chopped dates
100 gm chopped walnuts
200 gm butter, melted
100 gm powdered sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
I preheated the oven to 150 C (top & bottom coils).
Then I sieved the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Then I added the dates and walnuts to this dry mixture and mixed them well so the dry fruit was well coated.
I stirred the sugar into the butter while it was hot and allowed it to cool to room temperature. Then I added this to the flour and dry fruit mixture.
I tried mixing it with a wooden spoon but got frustrated quickly, so switched to kneading with my hands! Once the dough had come together, I felt it was a little dry so I added about 3 tbsp of milk and mixed it again.
Then I rolled the dough out on my counter to about 1/2″ thickness and used my 2.5 ” diameter round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Then I placed them on a butter paper lined cookie sheet and baked them for about 15 mins per batch, until golden. The recipe said I would get 25, but I got almost 32 cookies, probably because of my cookie cutter’s size.
II. Saffron & Pistachio (20)
1/4 tsp saffron strands
2 tsp warm milk
4 green cardamom pods
10 shelled green pistachios, chopped finely
100 gm flour
50 gm powdered sugar
50 gm butter
I soaked the saffron in the warm milk for about 10-15 mins and ground the cardamoms in my mortar pestle.
In the mortar pestle, I ground the saffron and milk to a paste.
I beat the butter, sugar, saffron paste and cardamom together till light and creamy. Adding the flour, I formed it into a dough and kneaded it with my hands for a few minutes.
Rolling it to 1/2″ thickness on my counter, I cut the dough into cookies using the 2.5″ dia round cookie cutter and placed them on the lined cookie tray. I sprinkled the pistachios on top and baked them at 150 C for 15 mins per batch.
III. Coconut Cookies (24 bite sized or 12 larger cookies)
100 gms flour
50 gms butter
50 gms sugar
50 gms finely grated coconut (I used dried, but fresh would work better)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
I mixed the flour and baking powder.
Then I beat the butter and sugar together till light and creamy. Added in the flour, coconut, vanilla essence and milk and formed a dough.
The original recipe said to roll it into a log and slice biscuits but I decided to divide the dough into 24 peices and rolled them into balls, flattened them and pressed down gently witha fork to make a ridged pattern.
I placed these on the lined cookie sheet and baked them at 150 C for 15 mins.