Indian Shortbread Cookies
These orange-flavored khasta biscuits are inspired by the recipe of my mother. I have eaten her shortbread cookies a million times in my life but every time they tasted exactly the same, lightly sweetened, with just a tad bit of salt and cumin — just enough to command their presence. These are typically served with hot milk, coffee, or chai.
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- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 Cups loosely packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Cup ghee or softened, unsalted butter
- Zest of 2 large oranges (almost 2 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 -3 tablespoons orange juice or milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the sugar and ghee until just combined. Add the orange zest and cumin seeds. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix using an electric mixer on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Add the orange juice to make the dough smooth.
Lightly dust a clean countertop with flour. Transfer the dough to the countertop and knead by hand. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll them into logs. Cover with plastic wrap. Smooth out the longer sides of the log, giving it a square shape. Put it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to firm.
Pull the dough out and cut into squares about ¼- to ½-inch thick. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and transfer to the cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake them until the bottoms are golden brown in color, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack before serving.