In my cookie baking basics for beginners, I always harp on the need for solid fat for baking a crispy cookie without baking powder and soda. However, many of you approach me asking for substitutes for ghee and oil, so here's presenting cookies with malai (cream that sits on top of boiled milk).
The next question that pops up in your mind is: Are these crispy with malai?
Or how to bake crispy cookies with homemade cream, which is way healthier than your favorite packaged cream. A recent research report claims that packed creams sold under different names in the market raise the risk of triglycerides and cholesterol.
Can you give me the reason?
Well, the answer is simple.
There are highly processed fats that blend different ingredients to give you that luscious richness that you crave in your bakes. They are highly saturated and have trans fats.
You can add whipping creams, condensed milk, butter, margarine, blah blah to this list. Please ignore my ignorance too as I do not even know how many types of ready-to-eat/use creams are available in tetra packs these days!!! Sigh!
My purpose behind writing these facts is not to spread negativity but to raise awareness about what is impacting your health goals. Of course, you may want to use these once-in-a-while!
But as far as I am concerned, I literally reject ingredients that could have an adverse effect on health. Take a pledge to own your health and that of your loved ones.
So now the next question is: Is malai healthy?Well, frankly, anything unprocessed or minimally processed is healthy.
But when we process something, it loses its nutritional value. Something that is highly processed comes with a flood of health effects too.
So baking with any fat is processing the food.
But since we are trying to make healthy processed food at home and reject highly ultra-processed bakes from the stores, choose your ingredients wisely. Pack as much nutrition as you can in any food that you prepare so that the advantages outnumber the disadvantages.
Malai was a favorite once
I love malai in its natural form so do all Punjabis of my time. When you eat it as is, this is when you can dub it as healthy.
I remember adding malai to my hot cuppa when I was young. Every sip was heavenly. I would also add malai as a sandwich layer between two Biscuits and enjoy it as a tea-time treat.
Then the health bug bit me hard and cautioned me against eating anything and everything fat.
I stopped and quit fat. That's a MISTAKE.
You should not eliminate fat but use in moderation. That's it.
Your body needs fat for the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins and cell growth.
How to bake with malai?
First, should you bake with malai?
Well, if you have no problem with baking with ghee, butter, or oil, then malai is not a bad choice either. We will discuss saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats in another post.
Let's keep this post to baking with malai, which lends flavor and richness to a bake and you do not need any other ingredient to make the end product richer and flavorful. No doubt, homemade malai is way healthier than the storebought counterparts available in tetra packs.
That's my observation.
When it comes to baking with malai as an alternative to ghee or butter, please omit any liquid in the cookie recipe, first.
So making cookies with malai gives you an alternative to ghee, butter, and oil.
Even when it comes to using malai in cookies, use one that is thick and refrigerated for better results. Additionally, you may omit any liquid in the recipe, especially if your malai is not thick.
If it's thick and creams well with the sweetener, you may use a little amount of liquid.
In fact, if you use this homemade cream or malai, then you can easily omit milk powder in a recipe that calls for one. So if a recipe requires ghee/butter as fat and uses dehydrated milk, you may substitute it with malai. That's my perception.
However, malai cookies might lose their crispness over a period of time, especially if you use any additional liquid in the recipe.
I bake cookies, cakes, rusks, kachoris with malai and they come out so so well and flavorful. A little goes a long way :) Do not forget to check why and how to make your baking ingredients at home here.
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