I am making efforts to streamline things on the site, and that includes making an easy start. When it comes to baking, cookies are considered the easiest. Last time I made savoury herb cookies, so it seems right to feature sweet cookies this time, and as usual we begin with the simplest kind. I have been baking lots of vanilla sugar cookies lately, at the slightest pretext. Last week presented another excuse. I needed something sweet to carry with me to Delhi as I was going to attend a wedding, and it is customary to take sweets. Cookies were a sensible choice for many reasons. I am going to list them here so that it will entice you to try this recipe. I am being devious, outright. I also made a huge batch of cashew barfis, and they have always been a hit. What is not to like about cashews? But that is another story, and it has already been told. Today is all about cookies;
Why should you make my vanilla cookies?
1. One batch makes about twenty-five cookies, and four batches make a century. Yes, these are done very quick!
2. These last long. Mine lasted ten days, and they stayed crisp all along.
3. Many of my blogger-friends have tried it, and given me positive feedback, but the best feedback was when L’ll Rehan, Lalita’s young boy, ate one, and did not stop till his mum hid the cookies, and when my relatives in Delhi did not realize that these were vegan or homemade.
Recipe: Vegan Vanilla Sugar Cookies
(Inspired and modified from a Maggie Beer recipe)
Yield: 24 cookies, about 1.5inches in diameter
Refined flour – 2 cups | 288g
Soaked and ground cashewnut paste – 2 tbsp | 32g
Pink salt – 2 generous pinches | 1g
Baking powder – about ½ tsp. | 3g
Vanilla seeds from 2 vanilla sticks
Olive oil – ½ cup | 80g
Caster sugar – ½ cup | 88g
Soy milk / Water / Coconut milk – 1-2 tbsp.
Place flour, cashew paste, salt, baking powder and vanilla seeds in a blender and blend till even. Remove the blended dry flour into a mixing bowl.
Blend olive oil, caster sugar and 1 tbsp. of soy/coconut milk/water lightly and add this to the dry mixture to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Make the dough by mixing with your finger tips, gather and press with your palm. The resultant dough should be soft but break when pressed. Add more milk only if needed. Adjust consistency by sprinkling a teaspoon of flour if too soft. You should not feel the liquid on your finger tips while gathering.
Divide the dough into two thick discs. Wrap them in separate cling films and refrigerate for at least an hour, or till needed. I usually prepare the dough in the night and bake the cookies the next morning.
When ready to bake, remove the dough and let thaw till it softens slightly and you can handle it. Pre-heat oven to 160 deg. C.
Sprinkle your platform with a little flour; place the disc with the cling film on it. Open the cling film and fold it back a little loose. Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll the disc to desired thickness, preferably 3-4mm. The cling film may break as you roll but that should not be a bother. When rolled, peel away the cling film.
Using a 1.5 inch circular cookie cutter, cut several circles. Place them on a baking tray lined with foil/baking sheet. Gather the remnants into a ball, flatten into a disc, place inside the cling film and roll again. Cut and continue making cookies as before.
These do not spread much after baking; hence they can be placed close, separated by just an inch. Place the baking tray in the center rack of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or till the cookies start turning golden around the edges.
Remove and using a flat spatula, carefully transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Store in air-tight containers till needed. If you are traveling, stack ten cookies and roll them in cling film, and again with foil. Fold the ends. They will travel well this way without breaking.