Karachi Biscuits or cookies are crispy, crunchy and tender egg-less/egg free cookies studded with candied fruit (tutti frutti or candied papaya) and nuts and tinged with exotic flavors of cardamom and pineapple essence. These biscuits are so scrumptious, they are perfect to eat with your evening chai or coffee, to serve at any party or even to gift to your friends and family at special occasions!!
The name "Karachi biscuits" (cookies are called biscuits in India) comes from the fact that they were first baked and sold at a famous bakery called Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad (in India), popular for their fruit biscuits (hence the name Karachi fruit biscuits), plum cake and dil kush (sweet bread stuffed with coconut, tutti frutti and nuts)!!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS NEEDED:
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup multigrain flour (or use whole wheat flour/all-purpose flour)
½ cup custard powder (I used vanilla flavor); if you cannot find custard powder, you can use half and half milk powder and cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pineapple essence
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
½ cup tutti frutti/candied fruit
¼ cup mixed nuts, chopped (I used cashew and almonds)
5 to 8 tablespoons milk (as needed)
Step 2: STEP-BY-STEP METHOD TO MAKE KARACHI BISCUITS/COOKIES:
Sift the flours, custard powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl or use a wire whisk to mix them well. Stir in the cardamom powder.
Add the tutti frutti and mixed nuts. Give it a good stir and keep aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add softened butter (not melted!) and powdered sugar.
Cream them with a spatula or spoon until soft, fluffy, light and well mixed.
Add the pineapple essence and about 3 to 4 teaspoons of milk and mix again.
Slowly add the flour mixture in batches, mixing it with your fingers. It will start to form crumbs.
If needed, add more milk to bind the dough together (I needed about 6 teaspoons of milk). Once it comes together, gently make a soft dough (do not knead; just gather and form dough or the cookies will become hard).
Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and shape them into tight logs.
Wrap each log in cling film and refrigerate them for at least an hour.
I kept them in the refrigerator overnight. As the dough has butter, when chilled well, the shape of the cookies is maintained while baking.
Just before baking, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take large baking sheet and lightly grease with oil or butter. You can line with parchment paper too.
Remove one log from the refrigerator, unwrap from the plastic film and place on a cutting board.
Gently, with a sharp knife, cut into slices about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
Place on greased pan.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 13 to 15 minutes till the edges of the cookies start to brown.They will be soft but firm up on cooling.
Leave on the pan for about 1 minute, then gently, with a spatula, remove and place on cooling racks to cool completely.
Follow the same procedure for the other log of biscuit and bake all the biscuits.
Once completely cool, store in airtight containers.Serve these delectable, eggless, healthy and exotic flavored cookies/biscuits with your evening tea or coffee, at parties, in your kids’ lunch box or at your next Diwali, Christmas or Thanksgiving party!!
Step 18: NOTES:
For more tender (but of course, slightly less healthy) cookies, use only all purpose flour.
For people with nut allergies, they can omit the nuts and use only tutti frutti. If you cannot get tutti frutti, use raisins, dried cranberries, or any other dried fruit you fancy!!
Make sure to not knead the dough or the cookies will come out tough. Try to be as gentle, just enough to gather to make a soft dough.
Use as much milk as needed to bind it.
Instead of pineapple essence, you can use rose essence/extract (not rose water!) and adding cardamom powder is optional.
If you do not have custard powder, use half milk powder and half cornflour.
Try not to add too much tutti frutti/candied fruits or nuts, or else the cookie dough will not hold together well and will crumble while slicing.