Jeera biscuits are a popular tea-time snack in India and Pakistan. At once salty and sweet, these shortbread cookies are infused with toasted cumin seeds (jeera means cumin in Hindi and Urdu.) When I visit my in-laws, who are originally from Pakistan, I often bring a batch of jeera biscuits. We eat them plain, or dunk them in masala chai. My mother-in-law told me that in Karachi, most people purchase jeera biscuits from bakeries rather than prepare them from scratch. But as she attests, nothing compares to the homemade variety, particularly this amazing recipe from the blog Cooking with Manali.
Adapted from Cooking With Manali
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
Place cumin seeds on a baking tray or in a pan, and roast for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant, and then set aside.
Mix together butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Stir in the flour, salt and ¾ tbsp of cumin seeds until dough comes together and is smooth. If dough seems dry and won’t come together, add milk.
On a flat surface, sprinkle four and shape dough into a flat disc. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter.
Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake another 4-5 minutes. The middle of the cookies should be light, and the edges golden brown.
Let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.