These days Lausanne’s air smells like fresh Spring. I decided to go shopping for baking chickpea flour cookies. I used to buy these cookies in box, factory-made. They are cheap to buy so I never bothered to learn how to bake them at home. But it is true that “necessity is the mother of invention.” These cookies seem to be absent from Lausanne but I was motivated and there were ingredients to be bought. Most importantly, one can find chickpea flour at Aux Specialites de la Palud. By the end of the day, I was happy I baked it. First of all, it makes such a huge difference in quality. Secondly, you get the chance to cut and decorate them. This said, I am very picky with the taste. I call something good when it tastes exactly how it used to taste when I had it as a kid. I had such a successful experience with making chickpea cookies at home (they taste even better than the childhood experience). I am going to share the recipe with you.
A. 1 cup of unsalted butter (a pack of 250 gr would do). The butter needs to be clarified and I will explain how.
B. 1 cup of superfine (i.e. icing) sugar
C. 2 cups of chickpea flour sieved (NOTE: you would need more than 2 cups handy for spreading the dough later. You might need some more depending on the consistency you desire for the dough).
D. 2 tsp finely ground cardamom
E. 1 tsp finely ground cinnamon
F. 1.5 tsp rosewater
That’s all !!!
How to make clarified butter
Cut the butter into similar size chunks. Heat the stove and put the butter chunks in a small pot to melt on the stove. Many recepies suggests that you bring the butter to the boil and remove the foam, etc, etc. I personally am not a fan of boiling fat and solids, including butter. I prefer an easier method for clarifying the butter. I remove the butter before it boils. The extra heat in butter is good to melt the rest of it. Make sure the butter is melted through. Let it sit for a few minutes and then slowly separate the clear butter on the top from the white greasy part by pouring it into a cup. Wait until the white greasy part solidifies later and discard it. This part is very important because it is the part that sets the thick border between homemade cookies and factory-made ones.
Make the dough:
1. Mix the sugar and butter. Use a whisk to mix them well until creamy. Mixing for 10 minutes in clockwise direction would do.
2. Add chickpea flour gradually. I suggest to add 1 cup first, use the whisk to mix. Add 0.5 cup more, use the whisk to mix. At this point the dough is getting hard. Put the whisk aside and get into it with hand. Add the last 0.5 cup and use hand to mix them well and make it to a nice soft dough. Add sprinkles of flour if you need to do final definition of the dough. Once the dough separates from the bowl nicely, put the dough in a ziploc bag and put it in the fridge to cool a bit for an hour. Once you take it out, the dough is a lot harder and the butter in the dough has solidified. Do not despair yet!
3. Preheat the oven on 300 F or 150 degree C. The cookie tray will go in the middle rack of the oven.
4. After leaving the dough at room temperature for 10 minutes, use hand
massages to squeeze a handful of the dough and spread it on the table. Use chickpea flour on the table and on the rolling pin and the upper side of the dough to avoid dough being stuck. to the table or the pin.
5. Use small cookie cutters to cut the cookies in the shape you want. Use, again, flour on the cookie cutters to make the dough easy to separate from the cutter. No matter what, this is a short cookie and you need patience to move the cookies or separate them from the cutters.
6. Use baking paper or mats to cover the oven tray. I would suggest to have the tray and the sheet ready before cutting the dough so you can move the cookies directly from the cutter on the oven sheet to avoid touching them too much.
7. Decorate them the way you like.
8. Cook the cookies in 300 F or 150 degree C for 20-25 minutes. It should be nicely golden and not browned which makes it lose the look. Take extra caution that they also do not get brown, hence hard, at the bottom. The finished color should be yellowish sable.
9. Let them cool completely and then gently arrange them in a nice tupperware that has a lid. Separate each layer of cookies from the upper layer using a baking sheet (or some other kinds of paper).
Keep the cookies in a dry and semi-cool place. The good thing is that these cookies stay fresh and edible for a few weeks. Avoid putting them in the fridge (unless you live in tropical areas of the world.) They lose their tenderness, cinnamon and cardamom aroma in the fridge. After all, I hope you enjoy eating them alone or with friends. They make adorable tea cookies. Bon Appetit!