Most of the home baking happens during the beginning of the holiday season, particularly December. And this is the time when people take more interest in even signing up for baking classes, to make sure their festive cakes and cookies are impressive for the season!
Cookies have always been associated with a cup of hot tea/coffee or a glass of warm milk. Tea time certainly calls for some cookies. Most of us have childhood memories of dunking cookies into a glass of warm milk and enjoying the melt-in-mouth texture of the dunked cookie. Those were some fun days, but it’s a different thing that some of us still enjoy doing it. No matter what, one can’t deny the fact that cookies are one of the favourite little bites everyone likes to munch on, with or without accompaniments.
We are all aware of the general concept of a cookie, but there is much more to it when it comes to the regional varieties. When we say regional, we are talking cookies around the world here. This holiday season, we have picked a few interesting regional cookie varieties for you to nudge the baker within.
1. Alfajores – Argentina
Alfajores are an important part of the Argentinean culture. These are made with two soft, and crumbly butter cookies sandwiched around a luscious dollop of dulce de leche. Indeed a sinful indulgence. I tasted these beauties when our patisserie students made a fresh batch a few months ago and trust me this can easily qualify as a dessert cookie.
2. Springerle – Germany
Pretty unusual name, right? Well, in this case, the cookie flavour and form is also a bit special in its own way. These are anise-flavored German Christmas cookies with a design carved out of rolled dough by pressing a mould onto it and allowing the impression to dry before baking. Quite a serious procedure for a cookie.
3. Nankhatai – India
This cookie is not as complicated as its name. Nankhatai is an authentic Indian eggless shortbread cookie mostly made during festivals. It has a melt-in-mouth feel, made with Ghee (clarified butter) & flour, flavored with Cardamom or Saffron and topped with Almond or Pistachios. There is no doubt that some of the authentic recipes like this could just take our taste buds to a whole new level.
4. Persian Rice Cookies – Iran
These are rich in texture, gluten-free and rose water & cardamom scented rice flour sugar cookies. The cookies are said to have originated from Kermanshah, a beautiful mountain area in Iran where rice is grown. I am sure this would be a great addition to the traditional sugar cookies for this holiday season to get your friends and family excited.
5. Tahini Shortbread Cookies – Israel
Tahini in a cookie! Surprised? Well don’t be, it’s a great addition that not only adds a nutty flavour but also balances the sweetness and leaves you asking for more. It replaces the butter too in the recipe, making it a healthy option to munch on.
6. Curd Cheese Cookies – Ukraine
Curd Cheese Cookies are mentioned both in American and Soviet cookbooks and they sort of share the same ingredients too, but that’s where the similarities end. The actual name of the cookie is Tvorog cookies; Tvorog being a Russian milk product which is a kind of curd cheese. These cookies are lightly sweet, crisp and crumbly.
Cookies are very simple to put together, quick to bake and are fun to decorate, which makes them the favourites of bakers too. Learning the fundamentals of Baking and Patisserie is the key to handle any kind of intricate cookie recipe from around the world. Try your hands on some of the regional varieties of your choice and enjoy the holiday season over a cup of tea and some light & crunchy homemade cookies with your loved ones.