Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Afternoon delight

My mom has two sisters who love to cook and bake as much as I do and we all learnt from my grandmother. My aunt Kusum, who now lives in Gujarat, would come to visit us in Bombay and we would spend all our time in my grandmother's kitchen. My oldest memory is of her making her own ketchup and absolutely relishing it with samosa and bread. I also remember that even though she made 2 bottles of them, they were gone in a flash. Today it still remains the best ketchup I've ever had.

Now though, I'll revel in one of the cookies she made when she came to visit in the olden days. It is dough that is fried, then dipped in sugar syrup. It's sort of like a doughnut except crunchy. I asked her to show me how to make them and feverishly wrote down the recipe, even though it's so simple to make.

Today I just can't get myself to use a pint of oil to fry anything. Only on rare occasions. But I was craving something like that for tea time and experimented to create this crunchy cookie, defiantly without frying. I'm proud to say it's crunchy, tender, goey-sticky-sweet and perfect with tea or coffee. Also, it is ready in 20 minutes!

Tosha cookies
Yields 12 - 15

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs butter, room temperature or 10 seconds in the microwave
1 - 2 1/2 tbs water

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
A cardamom pod, or a small cinnamon stick (optional)

Microwave the butter in a good size bowl if you need to, then add flour. Crumble the butter into the flour with your hands to disperse the butter evenly. Add water to make a semi-hard dough, just enough to bind it well and create a smooth dough. It is like pie dough, so don't make it too soft by adding too much water.

Preheat the oven to 400F or 200C.

Roll the dough on parchment paper to 1/4 inch thick and cut with a cute pasta wheel (or you can use a pizza wheel or knife) and create diamond shapes (or whatever shape you fancy - you can use a cookie-cutter here if you want).

On a sheet pan with parchment paper, brush some canola oil, then arrange the cookies and lightly brush the tops with oil.

Bake for 4 minutes, then turn them and bake for another minute or two. You'll see that it has, delightfully, a protruding tummy, and has clusters of golden on them.

While the cookies are baking, immediately start the syrup. Combine water, sugar and cardamom and simmer until slightly thick. When you put syrup on your thumb and press it with another finger and see a line, then it's done.

Submerge the warm cookies into the syrup and coat well. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an air-tight container. You can refrigerate the remaining syrup for another time, or use for baklava or semolina cakes.

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