Everyone has a phobia. For some, it's cockroaches, for some it's heights, and for some it's small spaces. Mine is cookies.
Not eating them. Oh you silly! I can finish a whole sleeve of Milano cookies in one sitting, no biggie. Making them. I simply cannot make cookies. My chocolate chip cookies came out as weird blond pucks. My thumbprint cookies were not bad, just..weird. Even the Fates are against me. The one time I bought a cookie sheet, I ended up not measuring the inside of my oven because I am amazingly bright. Predictably, it didn't fit. I know use the detachable bottom of my standard cake pan or my usual rectangle cake pan. So basically, I can't do it.
Except this time.
I made Fekkas as my weekend project. Tiny buttery eggless Moroccan cookies, studded with toasted fennel seeds. The perfect size to eat by the fistfuls. You can make it regular-sized cookies as well, but this puts the "fun" in "fun-sized". Addictive, unbelievably delicious and goes incredibly with tea.
Seriously you guys, you need to try this out. It's super easy, uses stuff you have on hand in Indian kitchens easily. It's very easily customizable. You can use jeera, ajwain, or sesame seeds in place of fennel. It takes a little bit of time, yes. But at the end of it, you'll have a jar's worth of crisp aromatic cookies that you'll finish in three sittings, two if you're doing it well!
Petite Eggless Fekkas: Eggless Moroccan Fennel Cookies
Adapted from Gayathri's Cookspot
- Caster sugar: 1/2 cup
- Softened salted butter: 1/4 cup
- Any neutral oil (sunflower, rice bran): 1/4 cup
- Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
- Yoghurt: 1/2 cup
- Baking powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: 1/8 tsp
- Maida or APF: 2 1/4 cup
- Fennel seeds (or ajwain, jeera or sesame seeds): 1 1/2 tbsp (more if you are doing the ajwain version. Source suggests 2 tbsp, but with fennel or jeera, it becomes a little difficult to knead)
- Mix together the yoghurt, butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Add the flour and fennel/ajwain/jeera/sesame and knead to form a soft dough. It will be a bit oily, but don't worry.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal parts.
- Roll it on a clean surface (do not flour it) with your hands to form ropes (don't worry if they're unequal in length, width, shape or evenness). The ropes will look like weird alien fingers, but don't worry.
- Chuck it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up a little bit.
- Take it out, and arrange them neatly. Cut them into small squares.
- Forget that you had to preheat your oven at 200 celsius. Rush and do it.
- By the time it preheats, line or very lightly grease a baking tray (or as I do, the detachable bottom of a baking pan, or a baking pan itself). Lay out the cookie dough side by side. You don't need to space it out, these don't expand at all, so you can cram the tray. Like I did. I left a little space between them in the first batch as you can see below, but later batches (there are so many squares and such little oven space!) I crammed it.
- I baked at 200 celsius for about 20 minutes, but you need to keep a track, because the source recommends 4-5 minutes. Mine were completely raw at 5 minutes, and you know your oven best.
- Take out the batch, empty on to a plate to cool, chuck another batch in the oven, lose patience, try one and fly to heaven.
I made a huge batch, which was finished in one evening alone, because you can't keep your hands off them.
Here's an empty bottle of olives filled with it. This was the last I saw, because the next evening, this wasn't there. Mystery, I know right?
That's it! Try it, and trust me when I say it, it's easy-peasy and simply mouth-watering. Let me know how it goes!
Till the next time!