Karachi Bakery is an extremely famous bakery located in our very own Biryani land- the city of Hyderabad.
This bakery is wildly popular for its fruit biscuits and plum cakes. Having tasted them once, now the mere mention of Karachi Biscuits conjures up images of a crunchy, fruity biscuit, making me salivate instantly. Travelers from far and beyond can be seen flocking to the various outlets selling these biscuits in South-India, to buy box after box of these delicious treats. Thus, it is safe to say that that apart from Biryani, Hyderabad is also synonymous with the sweet, super-crunchy Karachi biscuits.
How did I discover them, you ask? That is actually a funny story….or silly. You decide.
We were in India last summer and as always it was a crazy, hectic trip. I went early on and spent some good time with my grandparents in Agra and then with my family in my home-town Indore. Hubby however, arrived later on for barely 15 days.
In the two weeks he was in India, we spent time in Indore (both of ours home-town), then to Hyderabad (my youngest sister-in-law’s place), then Bangalore (to visit our good friends) and finally to Mumbai, from where we were to fly back to Dublin. So yeah, it was preeeeetty busy. It seemed that all I was doing was unpacking suit-cases at each destination and re-packing them again after a couple of days.
We were in Hyderabad for the least amount of time, i.e only a day and a half and it seemed that there was barely any time to catch up with the family. So, when my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to go to the mall for last minute shopping spree, I immediately shook my head no. I told her that we had already exceeded our allowed weight limit for the international flight and I didn’t want to buy anything more during these last days in India. She asked me if I was sure and that some cookies called- ‘Karachi Biscuits’ were especially very famous to buy from Hyderabad. I assured her that it was fine and we stayed at home to relax.
Bangalore was our next destination and after we checked-in for our flight at Hyderabad airport, hubby and I were roaming around the glamorous shoppers’ area to kill time. I spotted a little cubical selling a large variety of biscuits and recognized them as the famous Karachi biscuits that my sister in law had recommended to me. I suggested to hubbyji that we pick a pack or two for our friends in Bangalore and we could just carry them in a seperate carry-bag to their place. So, we bought 2 boxes- ‘Fruit biscuits’ and ‘Rose-flavoured biscuits’ and set off to our next destination shortly afterwards.
Now, the thing is…….. I happened to taste these Karachi biscuits at our friends’ house to see what the hoopla was all about. OH. MY. GOD. THEY WERE MIND-BLOWING! I had never tasted anything like that.
“We can’t leave India without getting these” I whined to my husband, “Is there a place in Bangalore where we can get them?”
I did a quick google search and saw that there was an outlet of Karachi biscuits in one of the big malls in the city. With a stroke of luck, this was the very mall where our friends had planned to take us in the evening for an outing. I was delighted.
We happily bought 4-5 boxes of different flavored Karachi biscuits at the mall and each of them turned out to be incredibly delicious and flavorful when we savored them after getting back home. I had decided right then that I would to try replicating them in my kitchen someday. I just didn’t have the nerve to do so…until yesterday!
My variation of these amazing biscuits turned out to be pretty good!! I can’t wait for the time when I will be able to get my hands on the authentic ones from Hyderabad again in future but till them, these will do quite nicely.
Firstly, a few important notes that I must share with you-
- Most important one- DO NOT SKIP REFRIGERATING THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT. I made two batches of these biscuits. One where I refrigerated the dough for a couple of hours and another where I refrigerated them over-night. Both turned out the same taste-wise, but the former batch lost its shape while baking, while the one I chilled over-night retained the shape of the cookies beautifully. So, be patient and don’t skip resting and chilling the dough over-night.
- The original Karachi biscuits are eggless but my version has 1 egg+ 1 egg white in it. I have never been good at baking without eggs. So, I didn’t feel comfortable taking a chance with a recipe that I so desperately wanted to succeed at. I will put down the substitute for egg in the *Notes based on my research, but cannot take guarantee for it as I don’t know how well it will work.
- Secondly, using Custard powder is essential in these Karachi biscuits. I strongly feel that it made the most difference in nailing the taste that was so close to the authentic ones.
Give this recipe a go friends, and if you visit the lovely city of Hyderabad, do not skip going to the nearest outlet and getting 20 boxes of Karachi biscuits for all your near and dear ones! Have a great weekend! xx
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Vanilla flavored Custard powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- A pinch of salt
- A few drops of rose extract/pineapple extract or almond extract
- 1 egg
- A pinch of baking powder
- 1/4th cup of tutti-fruity or candied fruit
- 1/4 cup of chopped almonds and pistachios
- Egg white of 1 egg, for brushing
- 5 tbsn finely chopped pistachio for garnishing
- Sift the flour, custard powder, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, taking the help of a whisk or an electric beater, beat your butter and sugar together till it looks creamy and fluffy.
- Beat 1 egg well and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat till well combined.
- Throw in the rose/pineapple extract, tutti-fruity and chopped nuts and with a spatula, give the mixture a good mix.
- Now, add in your dry mixture in batches and with a spatula, mix gently till it all comes together without the lumps.
- Once the mixture comes together nicely, with light hands, make a soft dough. DO NOT KNEAD OR THE BISCUITS WILL GET HARD. Work as lightly as you can to roll and make a smooth dough.
- Divide the smooth dough in two parts and shape into long logs. You will get the circle-shaped biscuits from these logs OR you can pat the logs from all the sides like I did, to get a flater shape for rectangular biscuits.
- Wrap each log of dough in cling-film and keep in the refrigerator to chill over-night. This will ensure that the shape of your biscuits does not get ruined while baking.
- Next day, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
- Un-wrap the first log of dough and with a sharp nice, cut thin slices out of the cold dough and line them one by one at some distance, on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg-white from one egg. With a pastry brush, brush it gently on top of all your biscuits. This will give an amazing glaze to your biscuits after baking!
- While the egg-white layer is still wet, quickly sprinkle your chopped pistachios generously all over your biscuits so that they stick on the top. With a fork, very gently press them so that they are a bit embedded in the cookies. You can skip this and just let them be!
- Bake your biscuits for around 12-15 minutes, until their edges begin to look nicely browned. They will be a bit soft in the center but will firm up when they cool. Do not wait for the middle to get firm while baking or your biscuits will get over-done and slightly burnt.
- Let them sit in the warm tray for a bit and afterwards, with a flat spatula gently remove and transfer to a cooling tray to cool completely.
- Repeat the procedure with another log to make the second batch.
- Store in an air-tight box and enjoy with breakfast and tea-time to your hearts’ content!
- Do not thaw your biscuit dough before baking! Take it out of the refrigerator only when your oven is preheated and immediately cut, line and pop your cookies in it!
- If you do not want to use an egg in your biscuit dough, you can substitute it with 4-5 teaspoons of milk. Add this quantity of milk in the wet batter right when you are supposed to add an egg. Also, if the final biscuit dough seems dry, you can add a couple of teaspoons more of milk to moisten it up and bring the dough together nicely.