Growing up, the fall-back evening snack in my house would be a biscuit. Biscuits to me are what cookies are to kids that grow up in America. They were sold in all shapes and sizes, with different flavoring and the queen of them all was the “cream biscuit”, in which flavored icing was sandwiched between two thin biscuits. These baked goodies were not loaded with sugar or fat and were a reasonably healthy after-food snack for kids or tea time snack for adults, or when you just felt like nibbling on something. There were several popular brands (Milk Bikis, Marie come to my mind) and also, equally famous was the neighborhood bakery store-bought no-brand name, what we used to call, “butter biscuits”. These are very similar to these shortbread cookies by Meeta. After reading Meeta’s post, I really wanted to re-create those biscuits that were part of my childhood and the cookie bake-off that happened during the holiday season was the perfect excuse. I did some more research and found this recipe at Arusuvai (in Thamizh), meaning six tastes, which turns out to be pretty similar to Meeta’s recipe. The recipe from Western Europe and from the heartland of South India are uncannily close – may be it was the British influence. Whatever be it, these uncanny culinary or other such similarities never cease to amaze me.
All-Purpose Flour or Maida – 350 gms Butter – 350 gms Powdered sugar – 80 g Milk – 4 tbsp Cinnamon – 1 tsp Chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts & cashews) – couple of handfuls Mix butter, nuts and sugar gently using a wooden spatula along with milk. Whisk in the flour carefully. Take care to not heat up the dough – it has to be cold. Place it in the fridge for a few minutes if the dough is not cold. Roll out the dough with a few gentle strokes to about 1/4″ thickness. At this point, you can cut it into different shapes using a cookie cutter and then bake in a 350 F pre-heated oven, for about 40-45 minutes. The biscuit should be in a light-brown color, so take care so that it does not darken.