It is exceedingly rare that one visits a house in Pakistan and leaves without a cup of the nations’ obsession, a cup of steaming hot black tea with a dash of milk. I do not want to sound unpatriotic, but I am not a tea person at all. My relationship with tea is limited to dipping my favourite cumin shortbread biscuits in my mom’s mug, a habit she is not very fond of.
Zeera (Jeera) biscuits are crumbly shortbread style biscuits sold at local bakeries throughout the country. They are the perfect combination of buttery, salty and sweet. Generous amounts of freshly roasted cumin add a uniqueness in each bite.
I love salty desserts (sea salt caramels anyone?). The tasteful amount of salt flakes paired with a moderate amount of sweetness is what makes these crumbly cookies a favourite for me. I do not need to describe what a treat these are to my Pakistani followers. Do try this recipe, it yields the exact taste and texture of the zeera biscuits sold at your ‘muhallay ki bakery’ (neighbourhood bakery).
- Cumin Seeds 1 & ½ tbsp.
- All Purpose Flour 1 cup
- Butter ½ cup; room temperature
- Sugar ¼ cup
- Salt ¼ tsp
- Butter Vanilla Essence 2-3 drops
- Milk 1 tbsp.
Preheat the oven to 180 ℃. Dry roast cumin in a pan till fragrant. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together using a handheld mixer till fluffy. Mix in flour, cumin, butter vanilla essence and salt and mix on low speed until a crumbly dough is formed. Add milk and using your hand form a soft dough.
Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1 cm thickness and cut out biscuits using a round cookie cutter. Place biscuits on a butter paper lined cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes until biscuits are light golden. Remove biscuits from sheet and transfer onto a cooling rack. The biscuits will get firmer as they cool.
These biscuits can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight jar. Dip these zeera biscuits in your mom’s tea, they are great on their own too!