These shortcrust cookies pair perfectly with a cup of chai. This recipe gets you the same ‘bakery wala’ taste but using cleaner ingredients.
Growing up in India we didn’t have an oven at our home. Having an oven at home was not very popular in those days. So baking at home wasn’t possible. There were a few selected type of cookies/biscuits that were available at the local stores. They were often supplied by the local bakery in the area.
As chai time is a big thing in India, so are the snacks that are served along. Zeera biscuits, as we called these shortcrust cookies containing cumin, are a popular choice to serve with chai. They have a salty, somewhat sweet flavor. The crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture make these cookies irresistible.
What cleaner ingredients are we talking about?
I use aata (whole wheat flour) and some besan (gram flour) instead of refined flour. The refined sugar is substituted with brown. These cookies are not heavy on sugar as they are more towards the salty side. Even after swapping the ingredients, you get the same ‘bakery wala’ taste, so its a win-win situation.
Ingredients at a glance
- I used Ashirwaad aata for my recipe. Results may vary if you are using any other brand of aata.
- Use unsalted cold butter (not melted).
- I use raw brown sugar (rohrzucker) for my recipe which is easily available at German grocery stores like Edeka, Rewe, DM or Rossmann.
Zeera Biscuits (Cumin Cookies)
- 1 cup (125 grams) Atta (whole wheat flour)
- ¼ cup (70 grams) Besan (gram flour)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (cold, cut into cubes)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (rohrzucker)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp + some extra cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp cold water
- Add all the ingredients, except water in a big bowl. Break the butter with hands and rub it into the flour. Mix everything until the flour is well incorporated. Press it between your fist and the dough should stick together.
- Add the cold water and bring the flour together to form it into a ball. Do not knead the dough. You may add a teaspoon or two more water if your dough is not sticking together but do not add too much water.
- Set the oven to preheat at 180° Celsius.
- Spread a sheet of baking paper on your working surface and transfer the dough onto it. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and roll it out. Press lightly and roll it evenly until the dough is 1 cm thick from all sides.
- Cut similar sized squares about 3×3 cm using a knife. Transfer to a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some cumin seeds on top of each cookie and press lightly to secure it in place.
- Bake on the middle rack at 180°C for about 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown in color. Keep an eye after 12 minutes as they burn very quickly.
- Take out from the oven and let them rest until they cool down. Transfer to an airtight container and enjoy over a period of 2 weeks.
- Make sure that your butter is cold. Melted butter will make the dough very tricky to work with.
- I used Ashirwaad brand atta. If you are using any other brand, results may vary.