Photo: Ajna Jai / Contributor
When I think of the iconic foods of America, a cookie is the first thing that comes to my mind. Upon my arrival in this part of the world over 30 years ago, while visiting a mall, I was fascinated to see an entire store dedicated to serving warm freshly baked cookies. Wow, what an idea! The closest thing I had seen to a cookie in India was a sweet crisp shortbread that we called a biscuit, usually eaten with chai. Here, I loved the plays of textures, from firm to gooey, crisp to chewy, nutty to smooth, in a neatly packed disc. Even during my early adventures in the kitchen, almost every flavor I could conjure up ended up as a cookie. When opening the Bake Lab, my favorite combination of chocolate and chile transformed into a cookie as did fresh coconut with minced mint leaves. I applied this same idea to leftover halwa, a sweet often used as a divine offering in Indian temples. To my fellow Indians who attempt it, it will be reminiscent of trips to temples and gurudwaras.