A few years back, my husband returning from a business trip brought back a box of these cookies which he said were the famous Karachi biscuits from Hyderabad.
Fruit biscuits, the box read. Having never had tutti frutti studded biscuits before, I bit into one gingerly and mmmm…it was lovely! Soft and crumbly with candied fruit.
I was very keen to recreate the texture and flavour of these famed biscuits. I tried, I failed, I tried again. I asked friends, I looked at various recipes and kept baking small batches. And finally when I baked the most recent batch, I smelt success!
No leaving agent is to be used- that’s the key! No baking powder, no baking soda.
The buttery crumbly softness and the mild crunch of the candied fruit- yeah…I am almost there 🙂
Here is how I made them
(This recipe gives 25 medium sized cookies)
150 grams (1 cup and 1 Tbsp) All purpose flour/Maida
110 grams butter (1/2 cup), softened but not melted
100 grams ( 1/2 cup ) Sugar. Weigh the sugar and then powder it in the mixer. I added only 1/3 cup as we like our cookies mildly sweet and the tutti frutti also adds to the sweetness)
½ cup candied fruit/tutti frutti/dry fruit ( You may use chopped dry nuts like almonds and cashews in place of tutti frutti or just raisins)
½ tsp cardamom/ilaichi powder
½ tsp rose extract ( May use almond/vanilla extract if rose not available. Rose water won’t give the required flavour)
Sift the flour. Leave the butter out on the counter till it is soft. Do not melt it. We need the butter soft, but not melted. Be very careful if softening in the microwave.
Beat the butter and powdered sugar till light and creamy.
Add the cardamom powder, rose extract and candied fruit and mix well.
Slowly add the flour in three lots mixing with your fingers. Incorporate the butter into the flour. The mixture begins to look like bread crumbs.
Gently bring the dough together. Do not knead!
Shape the dough into a log and cling film it. I put the cookie dough roll in a long cardboard box and tied it up to ensure it keeps the square shape.
Refrigerate the dough for an hour.
Preheat the oven at 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Check the end of the post for detailed baking instructions and the microwave baking option)
Remove the log from the refrigerator and cut slices about half an inch thick.
Lay the cookies on the sheet at least 2 inches apart as they expand when they bake.
Bake for 13-15 minutes. When the bottom of the cookies begins to brown, they are done. They will be soft in the middle, but will firm up on cooling.
Cool in the baking tray for five minutes and then transfer to the then wire rack to cool completely. The cookies stay good for two weeks when stored in an air tight container.
Enjoy with a glass of milk or hot chai or coffee.
The first recipe I tried was from here. Working on the basic idea, I made several changes to get mine.
Oven and baking specifications
I have a 45 Litre Oven (with a fan) and baked these at 180C . I placed the baking tray on the middle shelf, with both the upper and lower elements on. However, each oven behaves differently, so please adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly. Basically, as soon as the bottoms of the biscuits begin to change colour, the baking tray needs to be pulled out. It may take longer than the 14 odd minutes it took me. So watch those bottoms! And do not Over Bake!! That will totally kill the biscuits. Slightly browned bottom and a soft top, that’s what we are looking for 😀
Want to bake them in the microwave? Here is some wonderful explanation on how to go about it at ‘Cakes and More’.