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“…Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much…” These lines written by Hy Zaret for the song Unchained Melodies certainly do not apply to the pace at which the time flew past and how EFS now enters into its sixth year of blogging. Each year it felt unbelievable coz when I had started out, I had no idea for how long I would keep uploading regular posts. I feel pleased and contented the way this blog has been fairing despite a few phases of neglect (mostly unintentional) by me. I can never thank the blogging community enough for helping keep this blog running with their encouraging words and for the love and warmth that they have showered upon EFS. Thank you so much everyone from the bottom of my heart – my blogger friends, readers, visitors, followers, those who tip toe by, all my friends and my ever supportive family. Without you all I would not have travelled this far.

For the first blog anniversary of EFS, I had uploaded a savory post. And the following year I missed my own blog anniversary (those who know me well will tell you that I am pretty capable of doing that) as I was on sabbatical. The third year, it was Blitz & Bake Beetroot Chocolate Cake. For the fourth year, I chose to go Indian and opted for Suji Halwa, a cardamom and saffron flavoured semolina pudding. So for this year, I zeroed in on doing a fusion recipe. Since the festival of Holi falls in the month of March this year, I plan on of doing a couple of Holi related posts through this month and wanted to kick start it with Thandai. (Thandai is a nuts, seeds & spiced milk beverage that is sometimes spiked with bhaang i.e. leaves and flowers of cannabis and traditionally served during the festival of colors called Holi. Well, no cannabis here for sure) Doing a kulfi post on thandai sounded good for holi but then I thought of clubbing it with blog anniversary post and turn it into something different.

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It won’t be long before the humidity will make it nearly impossible to bake cookies here. Therefore the idea to turn the thandai into cookies struck. However, it didn’t take long to realise at google that I wasn’t the first person on the blogosphere to be hit with the ‘eureka moment’ of thinking about thandai cookies. There is already a post on thandai cookies but nevertheless I chose to go ahead and celebrate it just the way I wanted to. They turned out amazing, with the warmth of saffron and hint of fennel. They are going to be my ‘go to cookies’ for a while for sure. So, join me in celebrating EFS’s fifth anniversary with these spiced up cookies…perfect with that cup of coffee or your favourite tea.

Thandai Mix

¼ C Almonds (lightly toasted)

1 tbsp Melon seeds (charmagaz)

12 – 14 Peppercorns

1 tbsp Poppy seeds (White) / Poshto / Khus khus

1 tbsp Fennel seed Powder

½ tsp Cardamom  Powder

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For Cookies:

120 grams Butter

½ C + 2 tbsp Caster Sugar

1¼ C Maida / APF

¼ C + 2 tbsp Aata / Wholemeal

¼ tsp Baking Powder

A pinch of Baking Soda / Soda Bi-carb

¼ tsp Saffron

1½  tbsp warm milk (to soak the saffron strands)

½ C Thandai Mix

¼ C finely chopped Almonds (optional)

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In a spice blender grind to powder rest of the ingredients mentioned under thandai mix. Store in a small jar or bottle.

Crush the saffron and soak it in warm milk for at least an hour to steep its flavor.

Whisk together the maida, whole meal, baking powder and baking soda for half minute. (I used a hand whisk to do this job.) Mix in the thandai mix and whisk for another half a minute. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Mix in the saffron milk and then the flour mix. Bring together the butter and flour mix till there are no dry bits. Do not over work with the dough. (You do not need to knead the dough.)

Roll the dough into a log that is 7 to 7½ inch long. (I rolled the dough log in finely chopped almonds for texture and for pretty looking cookies.) Tightly wrap the rolled dough in a cling film, ensuring to retain its shape, and keep in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (to obtain a hard dough so that it can be easily sliced)

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C for five minutes.

Unwrap the cling film and slice the cookie dough log in half inch thick slices and arrange them on a baking sheet at least half a centimetre gap. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes or till the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before carefully transferring them on to the wire rack. Cool completely before storing them in an air tight jar.

Yield : 2 dozen approximately.

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Some more cookies that are eggs free:

Nankhatai (Traditional Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Espresso Walnut Cookies

Pistachio & Cranberries Lemon Shortbread Cookies 

Black Sesame Cookies (Gluten free)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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