It’s interesting how family traditions are born. It’s even more interesting when they are built around food We all have lots of wonderful memories from our childhood which are centered around the kitchen. I am quite happy that I am now making new memories for my daughter.
First few years of my life were spent in our farm. We had our own cows which means there was always enough milk, curd, buttermilk, butter and ghee in the house. Later on when I was about 4, we moved to the closest small town. We still visited our farm every week and most of our milk and produce came from there. My mom would boil the milk and collect the clotted cream from it everyday. When there was a big jar full of cream, it was time to make butter!
I remember she used to place the cream in a big ceramic pot and churn it with a traditional wooden stick for what seemed like hours. My brother and I would eagerly wait sitting right next to her. We kept peeping into the pot in search of a floating ball of fresh butter. We waited for the butter in anticipation of a special treat, which always followed. Bread, butter and sugar!
My mom would buy fresh bread from the most famous bakery in our town. It was the basic white bread, which was milky, soft, fluffy and sweet. When I look back, it tasted more like a slice of cake than a piece of bread! Mom would slather these thin slices of bread with a thick slab of fresh homemade butter and then sprinkle some white sugar on it to make it even sweeter. We loved and enjoyed every single bite of this special treat. Sweet buttered bread has never tasted better after that.
Now that I am a mother myself, I see myself slowly trying to re-create these food memories for my daughter. Of course I live in Bangalore city, which means I don’t have access to a farm or our own cows. But I do the second best thing by buying whole organic raw milk for my family from a sustainable farm. I boil milk and collect the clotted cream and make my own curd (yogurt), butter and buttermilk. Earlier I used the butter to make ‘ghee’ or clarified butter but since my mom sends me big bottles of homemade ghee, these days I use the butter as it is.
If you have noticed that there is an increasing number of recipes on ‘Love Food Eat’ using butter instead of coconut oil or olive oil, this is exactly the reason. I think the fresh homemade butter that I make myself is definitely a better alternative to many other fats.
Our latest tradition is baking cookies on the days I make fresh butter! Alaru loves homemade cookies these days and I never really buy packaged cookies anymore (other than those rare packs of Oreos that she picks up when we are in a supermarket). My husband is also a lover of simple vanilla cookies. So every time I make butter at home, I make a couple of batches of fresh cookies, which lasts us till the next butter making session.
Most of the time they are simple whole-wheat vanilla cookies. I like to make them with less sugar and keep the flavors simple. I had a bottle of dried apricots that I had bought when we went to Ladakh a few months ago. Last week, I added them to my usual cookies and the result was great. I love the chewy, slightly tangy pieces of apricot in the soft vanilla cookie.
Try this recipe with any other dried fruit or nut of your choice. I am sure it’ll turn out great.
- 4 tbsp fresh butter
- ½ cup unrefined cane sugar (or a little less)
- 1 tbsp flaxseed powder + 3 tbsp water
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ – 1 cup of chopped dried apricots
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
In a small bowl combine the fax seed powder with water, stir well and keep aside.
Mix the whole-wheat flour, salt and baking soda and stir well making sure there are no lumps left.
In a big bowl beat the butter till soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and flax seed mix and beat a little more. Now add the flour mixture and the finely chopped apricot. Combine everything to form soft dough.
Pre heat the oven at 150 degree Celsius.
Grease or line the baking tray. Take a tablespoon full of the cookie dough, roll it between your palms and press it slightly to form flat cookies. Place the cookie on the baking tray. Continue to do this with the rest of the dough. Leave about 2 inches of gap between the cookies for it to spread.
Place the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be slightly golden but not too brown.
Remove the soft cookies and place them on a cooling rack. They will harden as they cool down. Store it in a airtight container.