Yamuna Devi Recipe # 16 : Cardamom Shortbread Cookies (Elaiche Gaja)

Yet more recipes by my cooking guru, Yamuna Devi. Before attempting to cook any of her recipes, make sure you are aware of the difference between US measures and Australian/metric measures. See below*


This buttery cookie bears some resemblances to Scottish shortbread. To the basic recipe, try one of the following additions: ¼ cup ground pecanscashewsalmondspistachios or walnuts or 3 tablespoons puree of dried mangoapplescherries or papaya.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 15 minutes,
Baking time: 1 hour,
Makes: 2 dozen small bars.

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature,
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds or 2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste,
½ cup (110g) superfine sugar or jaggery,
2½ cups (300g) unbleached white flour,
½ cup (85g) fine semolina (pasta flour),
¼ teaspoon salt,
¼ teaspoon baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 250 F (120 C).

Cream the butter and cardamom or ginger in a mixing bowl, then gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. (If you are using a dried fruit puree, work it into the sugar-butter mixture).

Combine the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder on a sheet of waxed paper and mix well. (If you are using nuts, add them to the dry ingredients).

Add the dry mixture to the butter and work with your hands until thoroughly blended into a dough. Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in an electric mixer, and with a dough hook, mix on low speed until thoroughly blended.

Press into an 8×10–inch (20x25cm) rectangle on an ungreased baking tray. Score the surface to make 24 cookies, and prick the surface with fork tines at 1-inch (2.5 cm) intervals.

Bake for about 1 hour or until pale gold but not brown. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Carefully cut again over the scored markings. (If you want to sprinkle the surface with sugar, do it as soon as it comes out of the oven).

*Note that since Yamuna wrote her recipes using US measurements, the weights are in US with metric in brackets.

More importantly, her tablespoons are US (15ml) whereas Australian/metric tablespoons are 20ml. So if you follow these recipes using metric measures, your tablespoons should be scant.

Similarly, the US cup is 240ml as distinct from the Australian/metric 250ml cup. The same scant measuring should thus apply to Australian/metric cup users.

The teaspoon is a universal 5ml.

Posted by Kurma on 9/10/10; 3:22:42 AM

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