Sunday, 1 April 2012

Jeera Cookies (Savoury cookies scented with cumin)

Jeera Cookies (Savoury cookies scented with cumin)
Savoury cookies are rare in North America, but not unknown.  My friend Margaret brings her ‘cocktail’ cookies to book club from time to time, where we highly refined literary types elbow each other out of the way to get at the crispy, cheesy little delights.
Today I’m on my way to a ‘garden party’ which will be held mostly indoors, because Calgary just isn’t warm enough for gauzy clothes fluttering in the breeze yet.  There will be mostly sweets on offer, so I thought I’d try these.  Jeera cookies are available in Indian grocery stores, but they are factory made, and too dusty and solemn for my tastes.  So I tinkered, and came up with these:

I don't sift, I just stir with a slotted spoon.
1 cup natural peanut butter (no additives, and definitely no hydrogenation!  'Adelle Davis/Bless us and save us')
½ cup raw sugar cane crystals
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 tablespoons fabulous peanut salsa*
1 cup whole wheat flour
20 turns fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup bajri flour (millet flour)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a mixer, blend the peanut butter, sugar, eggs, cumin seed and fabulous peanut salsa.  The mixture will be heavy, and you will need to stop the machine and scrape the sides often.  Set aside.
It will be crumbly at this point.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the flours, soda and salt and pepper.  Put the mixer onto low, and slowly mix the dry into the moist.  The dough will be quite crumbly, but be brave.

Put a spoonful of the crumbly dough onto the palm of your hand, and roll it into a ball.  Place it onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Continue with all the dough.  It sticks together well enough if you mold it, and you’ll see the dough is quite oily.  Once all balls are resting cheerfully on the sheet, use a fork to slightly flatten them, in the traditional manner of all peanut butter cookies.  Bake ten to fifteen minutes, till the bottoms are golden.  
These aren’t for kids.  I recommend serving them outdoors, on a hot and sunny day with a nice cold beer!  Perhaps we'll soon have a day warm enough for me to snap that picture, and when I do, I’ll update this posting.  If you have any ideas for delicious savoury cookies, please drop me a line!

*fabulous peanut salsa—At Calgary’s Kingsland Market there is a Mexican family who makes and sells this fabulous stuff.  I’ve tried to replicate it to use within a salad, but really, theirs is better.  Next time I go, I’ll update this post with their brand name.

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