Friday, October 02, 2015

Milk and Cashewnut Biscuits - Variar Bakery Style

I personally like biscuits, that too local bakery made ones. Bakeries used to sell very few kinds of biscuits during my childhood days, and the basic Milk Biscuits and Cashewnut biscuits were very popular. They were crunchy and nice to bite into. Cashewnut Biscuits used to have either a glossy golden surface with cashewnut bits and sugar crystals sticking to them, while the plain milk biscuits had just the glossy surface. Needless to mention, that I used to love them.
When I visited my brother Dr Kamalakanth Shenoy at Rajajinagar Bengaluru in early 1980, he introduced me to OG Variar Bakery that was close to his home. I was fascinated to eat some of the finest biscuits there, that crumbled and melted in the mouth! I later relocated to Bengaluru and was a regular buyer of Milk Biscuits and Cashewnut Biscuits there. I have liked Karachi Bakery Cashewnut and Chai Biscuits as well, but I always wanted to make Variar Bakery Milk biscuits at home. 

The other day I was going thorough various recipes for Milk Biscuits and found a good recipe on Vahchef channel that suited my expectation. Having made cookies/biscuits with different formulas, making these milk and cashewnut biscuits was not difficult for me. With single dough, I made two types of biscuits.

So here I go with slight changes that I made to Vahchef's recipe. They turned out very crunchy and tasty as against Vahchef's softer version. I also made the healthier version with whole wheat flour for a change. The recipe given here is with 2 cups of flour for making 20 Milk Biscuits and 20 Cashewnut Biscuits, but you can also make them with one cup flour like I did, if you are on a diet, or if you want them to get consumed within hours! 
Refined Flour(Maida) or Whole Wheat Flour - 2 Cups + 2 Tbsp(For rolling dough)
Salt - 3/4 Tsp
Baking Powder - 2 Tsp
Butter - 120 Gms(Max 140 Gms)
Powdered Sugar - 1 Cup
Custard Powder - 4 Tbsp
Milk Powder - 40 Gms(Optional)
Vanilla Essence - 2 Tsp
Milk - 1/2 Cup + 1 Tbsp(For milk wash)
Cashewnut Bits(1/8 cut) - 25 Gm
Sugar Crystals - 1 Tsp(Optional, for sprinkling on cashewnut biscuits)

Preheat oven to 180° C.
Sift flour along with salt and baking powder.
Cream butter with powdered sugar by beating well.
Add vanilla essence, custard powder, optional milk powder and beat until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
Add the sifted flour mixture and knead well, adding milk little by little.
If you want, add some more milk or water, but make a soft but non-sticky dough.
The dough must be brittle, and must crumble when you try to break it.
Make two portions of the dough.
Add cashewnut bits to one portion(saving a tablespoonful for sprinkling on top), and knead well.
Make balls out of the two parts of dough.
Flatten, dust with maida and roll on the kitchen work area into 1/3 inch thick sheet.
Sprinkle cashew bits on one of the sheets that has cashewnut bits, and run the rolling pin once to embed the nuts.
Using a spatula or a bread knife, press the edges and shape the sheets into perfect squares.
Make equal size markings and cut each sheet into 20 square pieces.
Arrange the pieces on baking trays lined with butter paper, or on greased trays.
Brush milk on all the squares and sprinkle the optional sugar crystals over the ones with cashewnuts.
Bake at 180° C for 12-15 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool on the rack.
Store in an airtight container.

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