Even the smallest village in Sri Lanka has at least one or two bakeries along the main street. Their glass cases are filled with cakes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Freshly baked pastries and pies are piled high and the shelves are filled with huge white loaves. But freshly baked cookies are difficult to find here. Most cookies are factory-made and from the two big competing brands Maliban and Munchee. This simple ghanakatha cookie used to be sold from glass jars in every little village shop in Sri Lanka. Now it’s more a cookie to bake at home. The traditional ghanakatha cookie from Sri Lanka has a nice crispy crust and a soft, almost cake-like inside. Nice with a cup of strong Sri Lankan Ceylon Tea. If you like this cookie, try my variation with coconut and nutmeg.
Ghanakatha cookie from Sri Lanka
For about 12 cookies
75 grams (¾ stick) of butter
100 grams (½ cup) sugar + extra for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
350 grams (2¾ cups) flour
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tbsp ice cold water, if needed
With an electric mixer beat the butter with the sugar and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until light and creamy.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add the flour, vanilla seeds, and baking powder to the mixture.
Knead quickly into a smooth ball – if necessary add a little water – if the dough is too crumbly. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 375°F. Roll balls of about 25 g of dough, place on a cookie tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 min. until very light brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the cookie tray.
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