While I'm still on this cookie making spree I'm so glad that I came across these tiny cuties on Soma's blog. Soma is an amazing lady with great talents. She is my inspiration for good food photography. These cookies are tiny drops of sheer pleasure. The best part about making these cookies is that you can actually play with the dough quite a bit, mixing your own favourite herbs and spices.
These are cocktail cookies and can be served with wine or other cocktail drinks. Remember those 'Nonta Biscuit/Namkeen's we used to get at the roadside Chaa wala's (Teashops) and used to gulp down a lot with hot Chaais while hanging out with friends after college? These taste quite similar with a slight hint of buttery sugary goodness. The Nigella(aka Kalonji/Kalojeere in India) gives the cookies a slightly Indian savoury biscuit taste and hence I love it even more! :)
The recipe calls for half and half OR Cream/double cream. I'm not sure what's a Half and Half is as I've never seen them at Tesco so I used Double Cream instead and the result was awesome!
Almond Nigella Cookies
Plain flour - 2 cups (plus more for dusting)
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Table salt - 3/4 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 1 cup, chilled and cut into small pieces
Nigella Seeds - 1tsp, lightly crushed
Double Cream - 2/3 cup (plus a tbsp for brushing) *Note - Soma says you might need more or less for the dough but I used exactly 2/3 cup and it gave a nice semi soft dough perfect for rolling*
Almond Meal or Powdered Almonds - 1/2 cup
Dried Chilli Flakes (I used Chilli Powder as I didn't have any flakes) - 1/2 tsp
Dry Herb Mix of your choice (I used Herbs De Provence) - 1/2 tsp
Whole Nigella Seeds to sprinkle - 1 tsp
Preheat oven to 180 C. Mix together flour, baking powder, chilli flakes/powder, nigella seeds, salt and herbs in a bowl.
Now whiz the butter and the flour mix in a blender until it resembles course crumbs. Stir in the cream until just moistened. Fold in the nuts and whiz on high till a dough resembling like 'Chapati' dough forms.
On a worktop dusted lightly with flour knead the dough gently for a minute.
Roll the dough out into 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch thickness. They will puff up a lot. Using a cookie cutter cut into desired shapes. I used a round and a heart cutter. Little T loved to cut them :).
Line a tray with a baking sheet. Place the cookies slightly apart. They don't expand sideways a lot so keeping them slightly separated will do the trick. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle some nigella seeds on each of them. Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine took 12 minutes) until light golden brown. Smaller cookies will bake faster.
Let the cookies cool in the tray before turning onto a wire rack. Transfer the cookies into a air tight containers after they've cooled completely. Stays fresh for a couple of weeks in an airtight container if you can resist yourself that is. :) These are the best savoury cookies I've made so far and definitely the best I've tasted!