Kenyan Style Biscuits/Rolled Biscuits
What are Kenyan Style Biscuits?
How these homemade biscuits got the name Kenyan Style Biscuits or Kenyan Biscuits, I have no idea. The only thing I know is that most Asian homes in the 50s to 70s era made them. Most common flavour was from the cardamom powder added some made ginger flavored ones. For me it was when the women of our family spent time together, doing their share in baking these biscuits. Basically flour, sugar, butter, milk and leavening agents are used to make these super delicious biscuits.
When I was growing up, the only biscuits that most Gujarati families in Kenya made were the rolled biscuits. Its only when numerous recipe books started coming out into the market that I tried my hands at other types of biscuits or cookies. I remember, my mum would make these biscuits on a Saturday so that I could help her to bake them. Perhaps thats where my passion for baking began. When my eldest cousin got married, my sister in law Chandrabhabhi would make the dough for the biscuits while my aunt (kaki) and I would roll and them. Bhabhi would comfortably sit on the floor and cream the butter and sugar till the mixture would becomes white and fluffy. Back then we didn’t have any fancy machines to help us. And let me tell you, we were a joint family and that meant baking loads of biscuits.
Fast Forward to Now
Baking these biscuits on my own is time consuming. However, they are simply the yummiest so I do try and bake them for occasions. I usually bake them to gift them during Diwali or for birthdays. My favorite are the ginger ones while hubby loves the cardamom ones.
Biscuits or Cookies?
English Biscuits are generally with a slightly firm texture, thinner, crispy and lighter, biscuit dough is usually more harder than a cookie dough. As a result one is able to roll them out. The word biscuit comes from the Latin word ‘bis’ meaning twice and ‘coctus’ meaning cooked. The term came into use around the 14th Century England to describe a confection that is baked and dried out to produce a flat item that softens when dunked in tea. Biscuits were widely used by the seafarers. Ship biscuits or hard tack were baked four times to ensure they wouldn’t get spoilt.
The word cookies originates from the Dutch word koekje which means little cakes. Cookies generally tend to be larger, softer and more dense in texture than biscuits. Besides that, cookies are rolled into balls or scoops of batter are placed on the tray and baked.
Nowadays both the words are used interchangeably.
Some Biscuit/Cookie Recipes you may want to check out:
- Rice Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Carrot Oatmeal Cookies
- Fig and Amaranth Cookies
- Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies
- Double Chocolate Cookies
- Besan Nankhatai /Chickpea Flour Cookies
- Kerstkransjes – Dutch Christmas Cookies
- Cereal Cookies
- Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
- Wheat Orange and Oat Cookies
- Fresh Coconut Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Orange Shortbread
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Ingredients required for Kenyan Style Biscuits:
Plain Flour – All purpose flour
Sugar – white, caster sugar
Butter – I like to use salted butter
Milk – warm milk or room temperature milk
Baking Powder – as a leavening agent
Soda Bicarbonate – Baking Soda, as a leavening agent
Custard Powder – if you don’t have custard powder, replace it with cornflour or cornstarch
Flavour Options – Cardamom Powder, Ginger Powder, Nutmeg Powder
Vegetarian Friendly as it contains no eggs
KENYAN STYLE BISCUITS/ ROLLED BISCUITS
- 500 g plain flour
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g salted butter
- ½ cup warm milk
- 4 tbsp custard powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- Sieve together flour, cardamom powder, custard powder, baking powder and soda bicarbonate together in a big bowl.
- Add butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar till it becomes soft, fluffy and nearly whitish.
- Add milk and mix well.
- Add flour mixture and bring the mixture together into a dough. Don't over knead the dough.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or a lid. Allow the dough to rest for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Lightly grease the baking trays with butter.
- Dust the worktop very lightly with flour.
- Take about a grapefruit size of dough and roll it out using a rolling pin. Roll gently. I like to roll it out on a rolling tray or chopping board as this allows me to turn it when rolling.
- Roll it to about 3mm thickness.
- Using a cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. Remove the extra dough.
- Place the cut biscuit shape on the baking tray, an inch apart.
- Bake them for 10 -13 minutes or until the edges turn light brown.
- While the biscuits are baking roll out the next batch of dough and cut out the biscuits using a cookie cutter.
- Remove the tray from the oven.
- Gently remove the biscuits from the tray using a spatula and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
- Store the biscuits in an airtight jar.
- Use up all the dough. Its easier to mix the extra dough with the new one.
- To replace cardamom powder with ginger powder, use about 5-6 tsp, depending on gingery you want the biscuits to taste.
- Do not knead the dough too much otherwise it will become too glutenous.
- You can reduce the sugar to 200g.
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