During the 80s, unsold books from Western countries used to be exported to India as waste paper and sold here as books at throwaway prices. I picked up The Cookie Cookbook by Evelyne Johnson in one such sale for just Rs. 6. It’s a tiny book, called a Dell Purse Book, and I forgot I had it until I discovered it amongst my books 30 years later. This book has a recipe called Mrs. Graham’s Honey Dough which disappointed me with its flavour and texture. A year later I tried the recipe again, modifying it to improve its taste and mouth feel. I increased the eggs and honey in the recipe, which improved both the flavour and appearance and imparted a cake-like texture to the cookies. These cookies have a very soft texture and can be served to the elderly who face difficulty in chewing, as well as to toddlers. Because they are soft, crumbs do not fly, reducing post-consumption cleanup time 🙂
The flour, butter, sugar, and honey are all rich in carbohydrates, and the cookie is definitely a high energy snack. The honey has glucose and fructose which do not need to go through the digestive process and are absorbed immediately, making it a snack which can restore blood sugar levels quickly.
- 2 C Maida (Refined Wheat Flour)
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ C Butter
- 2 Eggs
- ½ C Brown Sugar
- 4 T Honey
- ½ tsp Vanilla Essence
- Preheat the oven to 180° C/350°
- Sift the flour and the baking soda together thrice.
- Place the butter in a large bowl and whisk with a wire whisk till creamy.
- Add the brown sugar and whisk till creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk well till there are no lumps in the sugar.
- Add the honey, salt, and vanilla essence, and whisk till the mixture becomes smooth.
- Add the flour little by little and whisk. Use a spatula to push the flour and butter mixture towards the centre.
- As soon as all the flour is used up and the batter is smooth, drop a tablespoon of the mixture at a time onto a cookie sheet, leaving at least 3 cm space in-between.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the surface springs back when pressed gently with a finger.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
The amount of baking soda for 2 cups of flour is on the higher side to give a soft, spongy texture. To neutralise the off-flavour the soda gives, honey and brown sugar are used. Honey has a pH of 3.2-4.5 and brown sugar has a pH of 5.3-6.7. Their acidic nature neutralises the alkaline flavour of the baking soda. If you use white sugar instead of brown sugar the cookie may have a slight off-flavour because white sugar is pH neutral.