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Cookie Baking for Beginners Without Baking Powder, Soda| Cookie FAQs [TIPS & TRICKS To Make Healthy Crispy Biscuits at Home]

I bake a lot of healthy cookies, which has earned me the sobriquet "cookie queen." But does that mean my cookie recipes are complex? Well, if you are looking for simple cookie recipes for beginners, then this cookie baking guide can come in handy.

How to make cookies without baking powder/soda series

Oats cookies

Crispy to the core without baking powder soda
Flavored with ajwain
While you have always relished savory ajwain cookies, try out this unique combination in a sweet biscuit.
It surely makes the best partner with a hot cuppa!
oats cookies without baking powder soda ravneet bhalla

Gluten-Free cookies without baking powder/soda

One cookie recipe close to my heart is here.
One try and it will instantly become your favorite too. Gluten-free goodness packed in a crispy cookie without baking powder and soda.
Another healthy wholesome Snack from archives.
You ought to try it to believe the baked goodness.


gluten-free cookies without baking powder soda ravneet bhalla

Barley nankhatai without baking powder or soda

Jara hatkee nankhatai 

Now you might be wondering why the caption!

Well, similar to most of my bakes, this nankhatai does not use the traditional ingredients but leverages the best in the industry to give you melt-in-the-mouth khatais.

Healthy, easy, and yummy!
barley besan nankhatai without baking powder soda


chocolate chip cookies without baking powder soda ravneet bhalla

best-selling barley jowar cookies without baking powder soda ravneet bhalla

Semolina coconut bombs/khatais

Call these delicious bombs, melt-in-the-mouth khatais, or crunchy bites, you are going to treat your loved ones with a healthy cookie that blasts in your mouth and leaves it watering for more.
Am I exaggerating?
Na, the semolina coconut combo is seriously addictive. You may even substitute coconut with almond flour and get similar results.
Sweetened with jaggery powder, the no baking powder/soda cookies are going to be a regular at your place. Take my words for it.
sooji coconut biscuits without baking powder soda ravneet bhalla cookies

Common Cookie Baking Questions/FAQs


How to bake in an otg/oven

Frankly, I do not own an otg/oven...bake in an airfryer...however, expert baker friends often suggest baking cookies on middle rack with lower rod on. Bake at a lower temp for 12-14 minutes.

Can we use steel utensils be used in an oven?

Yes, good quality or high-grade stainless steel utensils are perfectly safe for use in oven.

Which jaggery for cookies and cake is the best?

Any organic brand of dry jaggery powder works like a charm in cookies. For cakes, even jaggery bricks will do. But for crispy cookies without baking powder/soda, look out for dry jaggery powder. You must sift the powder like all other dry ingredients for best results. Otherwise, jaggery grits might form lumps in the dough and ooze out during baking in the oven/airfryer/otg/convection.

Check this video:

Can whole jaggery be used for cookies?

Well, for best crispy cookies without raising agents, opt for dry jaggery powder. But if you do not have that handy, you may try to grate jaggery brick and then stir it into liquid fat/ghee/butter at room temperature. When it looks all mixed up and there are no signs of any grits of jaggery, shift this mix to the refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes. Once this solidifies, your ghee-jaggery mix is ready for creaming. Start with the creaming process immediately and cream until it all looks foamy and creamy.

When you bake with jaggery without sifting, jaggery grits ooze out of the cookie.
This happens when you bake with jaggery solid (brick), not powder. 
While sifted jaggery will be just like a fine powder and cream well with butter/ghee/coconut oil, you may have a tough time creaming jaggery solid. 
Go for organic jaggery powder - you will need to find one that tickles your taste buds. There are some brands that have a too strong scent of jaggery (molasses). 
Adding the same to your bakes could affect the taste. Do a taste test before opting for one if you do not want this to happen. 

What is better- oil or butter - for cookies and cakes?

I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil for cakes and cookies. If you do not have EVOO handy, you may use any neutral or flavorless oil of choice.

For cakes, oil makes cakes soft and spongy. Butter cakes tend to become harder upon refrigeration. But oil-based cakes stay soft and moist.

What adds crispness to cookies? My cookies don't turn that crunchy, what I am missing there?

If you knead cookie dough, cookies will turn out chewy. If you use more wet ingredients, cookies might become chewy. Improperly baked cookies are chewy. The right way to bake crispy cookies revolves around : creaming, sifting of dry ingredients, collection of ingredients into dough (not kneading), soft dough, baking at a lower temperature for longer, and letting cookies to cool down completely. Check this cookie baking guide. I bake crispy cookies without baking powder/soda. This should help you. 

Should we keep both bottom and top heating rods in the oven while bread baking? 

Yes, keep both filaments on.

Should I use parchment paper so that cakes/ cookies/breads do not stick to the baking dish?

I do not use parchment paper nor advise its use. there are natural ways to bake ...so why include chemicals when we are trying to go chemical-free? grease the pan/dish and dust with a good amount of flour...your cakes, breads, cookies will never stick.
Some will ask why is parchment paper not a good choice for health freaks. Well, no doubt, it is made from cellulose but it is treated with silicone to make it non-stick. So now you know why I limit the use of any such ingredient.

There are two types of parchment paper in the market - white and brown.
White is bleached and may contain toxins while the brown one is unbleached. So is parchment paper safe?
Well, occasional use is safe. But if you start baking with it regularly, I would never opt for one, though. The non-stick properties of parchment papers are attributed to polydimethylsiloxane  coatings. 

I bake everything with whole wheat flour. It tastes great right out of the oven and the texture is perfect too. But if I store the same stuff, it doesn’t taste that good the next day. Am I doing something wrong? 

There is a lot that goes in market junk - flavors, additives, preservatives, all combine to add taste and texture to storebought stuff. After all, they are in the market with a purpose to entice consumers. Have you ever wondered why you or kids get addicted to storebought cookies? Why do not they like homemade stuff? If you try to understand this, you will get the answer yourself. All market junk is loaded with additives and flavor enhancers to make you addicted to their taste. As far as homemade goodies is concerned, it is an acquired taste. Once you train your mind that this stuff is healthier than market junk, you will find a HUGE difference between both.. I have been baking cookies for 4 years now and TRUST ME, I do not like the overpowering taste of market cookies now. There's something that I hate about that stuff. That is unhealthy stuff and when you bake at home, you can decide what goes in. Therein lies the solution. However, that does not mean homebaked goodies do not taste good. In fact, they taste yum and stay good/fresh for at least 7 days if packed in an airtight container. I have a solution. Divide your new batch of cookies in two boxes. One that you want to finish off first, Do not touch the other container until you are done with the first one. Then you will realize the other container remains as fresh as new when you finally open it. Besides, you can always add natural flavors and spices to homemade cookies. I love the flavor of ajwain. Do try it out. You will be addicted. You may use organic vanilla powder/essence, cardamom powder, fennel powder, cinnamon powder, herbs of choice, and the list is endless. I never use artificial essences as well. My family loves my cookies - PARO is addicted to bhua's baked goodies   So that tells you the whole story. Sorry for such a long explanation.

It's mentioned on label of dark chocolate and dark compound (not to mix these two while baking). is it necessary not to mix due to some ill-effects or we can mix them. I hav 100g left in each pack and thought of making brownies with leftover dark chocolate in each pack. Pleae guide if I can mix both or not! Thanks!

Melt the compound first and then add dark chocolate to it. Melting point for the compound is a little higher.

How to get browned top on bread buns?

For last 5mins, bake the bread with oil/butter /ghee. When done, remove the bread tin & cover it with a moist towel until it has cooled down. The end result will be a bread just like storebought one - soft, fluffy, and perfect.
Additionally, when baking in an oven , to get that brown effect on top as well as bottom, heat up both the upper and lower rods.  Always keep the baking tray in the middle rack. The best temperature for bread baking is 200 degree Celsius. 

Is cane sugar-brown sugar same?

No. Both are completely different. While brown sugar is nothing but refined sugar with brown coloring during the manufacturing process, raw cane sugar is raw, undiluted, and unrefined.
Brown sugar is first refined white sugar, which is then mixed with molasses and color to give it a brownish hue. It might lose its color when mixed with a wet ingredient. Check the image below.
is brown sugar healthy



On the other hand, raw cane sugar is a byproduct from sugarcane processing - here goes the list of byproducts --
first, sugarcane juice -
then molasses.-
heated molasses give you jaggery
since jaggery has some impurities, it is refined to make raw cane sugar -
further refining gives you brown sugar -
final refined product is white sugar
bura is powdered white sugar

Did you know sugarcane juice is a boon for those with jaundice and liver issues?
Enriched with minerals and antioxidants, pure sugarcane juice keeps bilirubin levels under control.
This is one prime reason I opt for jaggery powder or raw cane sugar instead of any other sweetener. It is highly alkaline and helps maintain low acid levels.

Jaggery contains all minerals and vitamins present in sugarcane. Now you understand the reason behind its dark tint. The darker the more enriched.

 Jaggery is rich in calcium, potassium, and iron!

This also gives you reasons to quit white sugar - which is completely drained of all vitamins and minerals. Not only this, it undergoes a lot of processing, refining, and bleaching for that white color.
Refined sugar tends to cause blood sugar spike, without supplying your body with any nutrients.
Jaggery, on the other hand, or for that matter, raw cane sugar, have their mineral content intact. They are unrefined and raw and have not undergone processing or bleaching, which makes them a healthier alternative to refined sugar.

Jaggery = Sugar = Caloric Value = Not for Diabetics
However, when it comes to the calories supplied by each of these ingredients, they are on a par.
So what makes jaggery and raw cane sugar healthier than white sugar is the mineral content.
Additionally, it is a grave mistake not to associate jaggery or cane sugar with diabetes.

 Remember, a diabetic needs to watch out on their calories. When calories come from simple carbs, such as white sugar and maida, they tend to take blood glucose levels up.

So diabetics need complex carbs that have fiber and are slowly absorbed by the body. As a result, they are not associated with blood sugar spike.

Jaggery and any other natural sweetener tend to raise blood glucose levels in the body as much as white sugar. So that means these are not diabetes-friendly sweeteners.

If you want to sweeten a goody for diabetics, always opt for organic stevia, which is zero carbs and zero calories and is 100% natural.

 Stevia is a safer sweetener for diabetics. I always opt for organic stevia.

Can we bake any cookie or cake recipe in kadahi/cooker if the original recipe was in otg, oven, airfryer, or microwave?Do I need to tweak the OTG recipe if I bake in any of the above? How does one guess the time and temperature in idli stand if using the recipe that mentions Otg time and temp?

  
1. Yes, you can bake literally everything in kadahi /cooker. I do not advise going for an idli stand for baking (personally). But many bakers do claim to have baked in an idli stand. It's better to opt for cooker or kadahi. You may bake with sand/salt layer for even heating or nothing at all. But I would still suggest to spread a sand/salt layer at the base . 

2. No, you do not need to tweak any OTG/airfryer/convection recipe for stovetop baking. 

3. Well, when it comes to baking in a stovetop, you need to bake at the lowest heat (flame). Ideally, cookies in a kadahi or cooker start browning after 12 minutes, but there is no hard and fast rule here. You ought to experiment and bake at the lowest flame ..keep checking after 10 minutes.

Sometimes cookies take longer-- even 25 minutes to bake completely in kadahi/cooker. So nobody can give you the right estimate on this. It depends on the type of flour used (besan bakes quickly), fat amount (a fat-laden biscuits/nankhatai will bake quickly).

4. Well, for crunchy crispy cookies, please go through my cookie baking guide, trust me, your whole experience of baking cookies will change, that too, without baking powder/soda. Creaming the solid fat and sweetener until creamy and fluffy, sifting the dry ingredients, collecting the dough NOT kneading, a soft dough, baking at a lower temperature for a longer time are all crucial steps to baking crispy cookies without bp/bs. 

5. Well, I have done so and many have followed suit and loved the process. What more do I say, dear? 6. You can bake everything in a stovetop. I have done so in tawa/cooker and kadahi, besides an airfryer and microwave convection.   


Hi everyone. I need some clarification regarding Gud ki Shakkar. Is it jaggery powder. I have been using it in my bakes. But a recent conversation with a friend has put me in doubt. She said it is the last stage of jaggery which turns to sugar. So you are using sugar itself. Thanks in advance for your help

Well, there is a huge difference in gud /gur ki shakkar and sugar.. Forget everything else, check the color ...what color is it? 
Sugar is milky white since it is the end product of refining, polishing, and whitening...there is a lot that goes into the making of sugar...Gur is way healthier since it does not undergo refining/polishing/ whitening and retains molasses , which is full of minerals and thus the brownish tint.

Q. For cookies and cakes, what semolina do you prefer?
 I use thick whole wheat semolina that I use for making upma..I buy this from Big Bazar.you may use either-- thick or fine...doesn't matter...because the dough will be loose and semolina should absorb the moisture easily - thick or thin :) should not matter here...in fact, I use this semolina for breads and cakes too and everything coz I do not buy the super fine variety..hope that helps.

Q. Is semolina healthy?
Semolina is sourced from whole wheat grain.  While whole wheat has endosperm, bran, and germ, semolina does not have bran. In most cases, semolina is made from whole grain or whole wheat, keeping everything intact. If you wish to derive maximum benefits from semolina, always buy coarse one.

Q.  Instead of desiccated coconut, can we use fresh coconut, dry roast, and powder for cookies and cakes?
Desiccated dry coconut works best for cookies. For cakes, you may even use fresh coconut. I make coconut powder at home from fresh coconut. Check this video.

Some other baking-related queries

I have run out of my baking powder stock. How do I bake a cake without baking powder/soda?


Well, you can use baking soda instead. For 1 tsp of baking powder,  you may use 1/2 TSP of baking soda and 1 tsp of vinegar.

Else, try baking a cake without baking powder or soda. Can't believe? Here's a proof how to bake a sponge cake without raising agents. 

A little about this Cake without baking powder soda ( No egg. No maida)
This cake was an experiment that opened the doors for me to plunge into baking without baking powder and soda. Ever since I have been trying out baking recipes without chemicals.
Some of my cakes do use baking powder and soda. But the results without these raising agents have helped me become the healthy cookie queen, as most of you refer me to.
healthy sponge cake without baking powder ,soda or maida/no egg

Does food eno soda and instant yeast work same way? Can I use eno soda instead of instant yeast? 

Yeast releases carbon dioxide as a by-product of respiration (who does not know about carbon dioxide)? When this happens, these bubbles are trapped in the gluten structure of bread. As a result, when you bake it, these gluten structures expand. The result is the impressive characteristic texture of bread.
On the other hand, baking soda needs an acid to react and work to its optimal level in a baked goody. So you may use lemon, curd, buttermilk, vinegar or cocoa powder for baking soda to release carbon dioxide.

What is baking powder ? It is a mix of baking soda with a dry acid. It works when mixed with hot water, releasing carbon dioxide.

If you substitute yeast with baking powder or soda or eno, you cannot expect the same type of bread texture that yeast gives you. However, if you have no other option and wish to bake a yeast-free bread, then you may opt for sourdough or baking powder/soda/eno. 

When you use baking powder or soda in a bread recipe, air bubbles do not get an opportunity to be trapped in gluten as they tend to form only when the dough is baked. This is the reason a bread with baking powder/soda/yeast gets a cake-like texture.

You can always opt for a sourdough bread with 100 percent whole wheat instead. I have prepared a complete guide on sourdough bread baking with whole wheat. Check this step-by-step video for instructions on sourdough baking, which gives you breads that are not sour. 

Sourdough boule recipe with whole wheat flour that does not taste sour
There are tips and tricks to making a sourdough less sour. 

Baking in microwave compared to baking in airfryer


I want to know whether microwave convection baking is as healthy as OTG?
Since it’s a well-known fact that microwave reheating is not good for health. Is it the same case with convection mode???


Well, thanks for the tag dear. I will tell you a little story around microwave convection. I purchased convection 5 years ago merely to bake cookies for myself (LOL). But gradually I started to experience weird type of itching (kind of pricks when I would be around my microwave and the convection mode was on. I continued to ignore it. Then the same story repeated with my hubby too. We were always apprehensive of microwave radiation even before purchasing it but back then microwaves were designed with new technology . I had never imagined it would take such form. Now my fears were translating into reality. I have never used my microwave for anything except baking. But then we decided to switch to an airfryer.

Ever since I have not experienced that heat pricking problem. So cutting the long story short, all microwaves behave the same - whether convection or solo. Microwaves emit radiations and they can be hazardous. I wonder what would have transpired if we had continued to use our microwave despite that problem. (Sorry for sounding alarming, but I really wanted to share my experience dear). Research, too, sounds alarm bells around microwave heating, especially of liquids. You should avoid heating a liquid in a microwave.
Otherwise, this remains a controversial subject and you will find both types of voices around microwaves. But due to my personal experience, I would suggest you not to opt for one. More research is needed to prove its carcinogenic effects though. You will find research that says it causes cancer and some research papers refute that. But I believe we must exercise caution too (personal experience is much better).


Q. A query "never start an empty microwave this could damage the machine" But when we preheat it,it is always empty.

Microwaves are of two types -- some (most convections) have preheat functions while some have not. For example, LG MC-9280XC MW has preheat mode. Start with pressing Stop/Clear. Next press the Convection button. Turn MENU/TEMP dial until display shows “230°C”. Press START/Q-START. Preheating will be started with displaying “PREHEAT”. Since it is made to preheat, there is no fear of any damage. But for those not made to preheat, running an empty microwave may lead to energy getting absorbed in to the magnetron tube since it doesn't have anything inside to absorb the microwave energy. It will overheat if that goes on very long and possibly damage. So need to check with MW if that has preheat mode.

Q. Thanks for explaining so clearly, I have Samsung which has preheat mode but what to do if there is no preheat mode ?

Most convection models have preheat modes. However, those without preheat modes are likely to be damaged if used over time. In that case, it is better to avoid those machines or keep preheating to the minimum possible.

Q. Why does a bread crumble, making slicing difficult. Any tips for a firm bread? How to unmould it perfectly from the tin?

Well, you must keep your bread for cooling...I am not a bread expert....ideally what I do is cover the baked bread with a wet towel and let it cool overnight ..this helps give a golden effect and the bread turns out amazingly soft without any crumble...do try it out...when you cut a bread when it isstill hot, it will crumble....but upon cooling, you can get clean slices.

Q. What is the difference between a no-knead bread and a kneaded one?
A no-knead bread means you are autolyzing the dough, that is, mixing water with flour and other ingredients and letting nature do its work. You will be surprised to see the results that you can get with a no-knead bread. I often make such breads that require no kneading. If you use little amount of yeast, mix everyhting together and let the dough proof in the refrigerator, you can still get an excellent, flavorful bread. However, no-knead bread has a harder top crust than kneaded ones. Gluten formation happens in both breads. In the former, you let gluten to form on its own. No-knead breads may require extra moisture compared to breads that you choose to knead. In the latter, you work with your hands to create gluten strands that give your breads that chewy feeling and amazing texture. These breads have a softer top crust (and I love to knead breads while I follow autolysis for making rotis..I never knead dough for rotis and still get softer fluffy rotis). But in my little experience in bread baking, I have even been able to make soft sourdough breads that are often associated with a harder crust. I follow this trick for all breads - no-knead, sourdough, and normal. As soon as the bread is out of the oven, cover it with a moist towel and let it sit on the counter until it cools down completely. You will get a softer top and a golden bread . I have found this really useful.

Q. How can I add natural colours for whipped cream piping flowers? Is boiled puree, strained Juice, or powder?  When to add beginning or after stiff peaks? Does it turn watery or unstable? 

Opt for powdered beetroot, turmeric, kokum, purple cabbage, saffron, cocoa powder, coffee, and spinach. Beetroot powder is better than puree when using it for natural colors for frosting. You may get a light / dark pink shade.
Yellow color: turmeric or saffron
Red color: strawberry powder
Blue: blueberry powder
Purple: Purple cabbage
Brown: coffee powder
Green: matcha tea powder
Or you may choose to use cooked puree instead. Add it when you reach soft peaks. The frosting might still become flowy with puree. So better to use powders.


Q. When you want to make decorated cakes with colors, how to go natural with colors?
Here's how to make organic natural powders at home.

You may use cooked fruit puree right at the end just before folding in dry ingredients..
This helps retain natural color.

Q. How to make a healthy cake frosting?
Well, you can make frosting with hung curd or flax gel, oats, cocoa powder, and honey.
Hung curd frosting is pretty easy. If you want to keep it white - go for hung curd, honey, and vanilla powder or spices of choice.

Go experiment with hung curd and fruit mixes for a healthy frosting. Sounds good na!

Q. Why does a cake sink in the bottom?
It is unbaked from the middle..keep it in the rack meant for baking cakes if you are doing t in oven. Overmixing of the batter does sometimes result in an underbaked or flat cake that does not rise or if it rises, it becomes flat ..one cardinal rule is to just fold the batter....i.if you open the oven door again and again to check the cake, it might become flat..else, check your baking powder/soda for expiry ..or too much of liquid in a cake might play the role of a villain....thanks Anuradha Prasan for the tag dear

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