Growing up in Trivandrum, we would really get excited when our neighbor Prema Aunty asked to borrow the oven. You know those little round ones that got really hot and had no temperature setting? That oven was a relic from Sudha Aunty who left it behind when she moved out. And it continued to be shared between the two houses for as long as we lived in Trivandrum. There was a low wall that separated the 2 houses and scaling that wall was the mode of commuting between the 2 houses for the four kids. And when Prema Aunty borrowed the oven; it meant that she was going to make benne biscuits(butter biscuits or should I say cookies) and we would get some. Her benne biscuits were to die for.. melt in the mouth and crumbly and yummy. I have tried and tried to achieve that consistency - tried shortening; all butter but nothing has come close until this one.
This came about from the hurried reading of a cook book. Alice's Kitchen; a book I have checked out multiple times from the library(note to self: buy said book) Her recipe was for Lebanese Crescent cookies. It is one of those books without the pretty pictures but writing that takes you back to her mother's kitchen and allows you to experience the food. There is a small section on desserts that were cooked in her home. The one for Crescent cookies caught my eye. She instructs you to chop the almonds fine in a nut grinder and not turn it into a meal..All that popped out at me was almond meal. So I halved her recipe; and I think I have come a little more closer to the dream benne biscuit. And it is ironical that this recipe contains not a trace of 'benne' or butter.
This is a total no fuss recipe; it takes one bowl and no chilling required. So go ahead and make this.
1 cups all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal
1/2 c oil
Heat oven to 350 degF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add oil and mix with a fork. Test if it holds together when formed into a ball. If it doesn't add some soy or almond milk a teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. Knead lightly. Form into walnut sized balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. These don't expand much. Bake for about 15 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Cool on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack.
The cookies are crumbly - you will need a plate or a napkin or to eat it over the sink.