These Kenyan Baa Biscuits are a Delightful Diwali Treat.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated in many parts of the world and a lot of the celebrations involve enjoying the dishes and sweets you do not normally have. It’s a time for family gatherings, elaborate decorations, and of course, indulgent treats. If you are looking to add a delicious tea time biscuit or even gifting plate, to your Diwali celebrations, consider making Kenyan Baa Biscuits, also known as Baa Biscuits or Meru Biscuits. They originate from many Indian Kenyan households.
Here I will take you through a step-by-step recipe for these delightful biscuits that have made their way into many households internationally.
Ingredients for about 55 biscuits:
- 340 grams plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 110 grams granulated sugar
- 165 grams butter
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 120 ml tepid milk
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom (optional but recommended or you can add in chai masala instead)
- 1/3 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 drops orange essence
- Start by taking a mixing bowl and beating the granulated sugar and butter together until the mixture becomes fluffy. This is the first step to achieving that rich, buttery flavour in your biscuits.
- Gradually add half of the milk and half of the plain flour to the sugar-butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until these ingredients are well combined.
- Introduce the rest of the milk into the mixture, followed by flour, essences, cardamom, ginger and bicarbonate of soda. This spice adds a warm, fragrant note to the biscuits. Mix on low speed until everything is well combined.
- The dough should be soft. If it’s too sticky, you can sprinkle in a bit more flour. Using your hands bring it all together. Do not knead it too much. Just bring it to a ball.
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320°F) and prepare a baking sheet. I use the Silpat ones. My tip is to bake the biscuits in the same baking sheet you roll them out on. This will retain the shape. In Kenya we used to have steel trays that we would lightly grease and then roll on our dough.
- Take some of the dough and roll out to about 2mm – 3mm thick. Some people prefer them thicker and if you do then 3mm works fine. You just need to bake them a bit longer. Using the fluted round cookie cutters, cut out the biscuits. Leave a bit of gap between each one. Now pick the dough round the cut biscuits. A knife works well to lift it between the biscuits. Or if you want just use your fingers. You want to be left with just the fluted round cut out biscuits on the baking sheet.
Combine this excess dough into the remaining one and keep repeating the process until your dough is finished. When it comes to the last bits I just roll it into round(ish) flat biscuits
- Carefully place the baking sheet on a flat tray and bake for around 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Check at 12 minutes cause if you have thin biscuits they will probably be done.
- Once out of the oven, let the biscuits cool on a wire rack. (The smell of the kitchen will be amazing. Try to let them cooking before tucking into one. Once they cool they will become crisp on the outside.
Kenyan Baa Biscuits are a fantastic addition to your Diwali celebrations, offering a unique fusion of flavours that will surprise and delight your family and guests. These biscuits are not only delicious but also a great way to explore the diverse culinary world of Kenyan Indians. Give this recipe a try and watch as your Diwali festivities light up with the joy of these delightful treats.
Want more Diwali sweet treats? Check out my other recipes including Ras Malai macarons.