Now, Christmas isn’t exactly a Hindu festival. Then again, I had no idea what the difference was when I was 3 years old. I don’t think I care anyway.
My Mum was convent educated, which is presumably how she knew about Christmas Traditions.
Every year, I remember sitting down with mom, decorating a red tray, which was probably an upturned sweet box.😝 We stuffed it with balled up cotton and I used to ask Mom if that’s what snow looks like.
Being a Mumbai child, I had never seen snow. Even now, my only idea of snow is The flurries I saw when I was in Buffalo in 2010 and the fake snow that Snow World provides in Phoenix Mall.
Mom had this small Christmas tree, about 20cms tall and we would place it near the upper right corner of the box and decorate it with mini decorations and a little golden star at the top.
A little Red Sleigh came next, and I was absolutely convinced that it was the same one that Santa would ride.
But then my favourite part of the entire Mother-Daughter ritual would be the cookies and milk. A tall glass of milk and a plate of choco chip cookies, that I refused to keep in the living room because “Dad wouldn’t leave any for Santa, Mummy.”, the chuckle from Dad at my comment and the red stocking that Dad had bought for me are my memories of Christmas as a child.
The next morning of course, I had no idea why Dad was still rubbing his bleary eyes, when I saw my presents. Living in a flat with no chimney, I used to ask my Mom how Santa could come in, and she said he had a way of coming in through the door without waking anyone up.
We never actually baked the cookies though. I was too young and bouncy and everyone was afraid of me getting hurt. But this time, feeling nostalgic, I baked cookies by myself.
Of course, those cookies didn’t last even 2 days after my Dad and Sister got their hands on them so I had to bake a fresh batch and experiment a little. They turned out pretty well and some people have asked me for the recipes.
I don’t claim to be the cookie lord or any such thing, but here are the recipes to 2 of my most hit cookies.
For the dough
1. 2 1/2 cups Plain Flour (Maida)
2. 2 tbsps Corn flour
3. 1 tsp Baking Soda
4. 1 tsp Salt
5. 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
6. 1 tsp Demerara Sugar or Light Brown Sugar (optional)
7. 2 eggs or 4 tbsp milk
8. 2 tsps Vanilla Extract
9. 1 cup butter
For choco mint chip Cookies
10. 1/2 cup Choco Chips
11. 1/2 cup mint chips
For Lemon Drip Cookies
1. Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
2. 2 tsps Granulated or Powdered Sugar
3. Zest of a Lemon
Method for Dough
1. Beat the butter and sugars till it forms a creamy mixture. Make sure that the butter is at room temperature.
2. Add the Eggs/ milk and vanilla essence and beat until combined.
3. In another bowl, sift the flour, corn flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add this to the butter mixture one tbsp at a time an fold in with a spatula.
5. At one point, the dough will no longer be blended with the spatula, switch to your hands and knead the rest of the flour into the dough.
6. Once your dough has stopped being sticky, partition it into 2 portions.
7. One portion will be used for the Choco Mint Chip Cookies and the other half is for The Lemon Drip Cookies.
Choco Mint Chip Cookies
1. Add the chocolate and Mint chips to the dough and knead them in, but not with too much force.
2. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and flatten it into a cookie shape with your hands and place it on a plate covered with foil or parchment paper.
3. Let the cookies sit in the fridge for an hour. You can use this time to get started on the Lemon Drip Cookies.
4. Preheat the oven to 230° C while you arrange the cookies on a baking tray lined with foil or parchment paper. Leave 3 inch gaps between cookies. They spread while baking.
5. Bake them for 25 minutes until golden brown.
6. The cookies will not be crisp at this point
7. Cool the cookies on a wire mesh for 20 minutes. They will become crisp and crumbly
8. Store in an airtight container.
For the Lemon Drip Cookies
9. Knead the zest of the lemon into the dough until it begins to get the lemony smell
10. Now, roll the dough into a log and wrap it in clingfilm. Put it in The fridge for 1/2 an hour.
11. After 1/2 an hour, take the dough out and cut it into cookie shaped pieces. The dough is still soft, so you get almond shaped cookies instead of round ones.
12. Put these cut cookies back in the fridge for another 1/2 hour.
13. Place these cookies on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 210° C
14. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
15. As soon as the cookies are taken out to cool on the wire mesh,glaze the cookies using a brush and the earlier mixture.
If you glaze the cookies after they’ve cooled, the cookies become soggy
16. Once the glaze has dried, store them in an airtight jar.
The choco mint chip cookies are crumbly and chewy in places and the Lemon Drip Cookies are crusty and melt in the mouth. You can try all types of variations using the basic dough recipe.