Rakshabandhan – the bond of protection, is a beautiful Hindu festival celebrated with much fan fare and gusto in all parts of India. This auspicious day falls on the full moon(Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.
The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. Wow, Right?!!
My brother does not reside in the same city as I do. But distance never deters any sister to send this sacred thread across to her loving brother. A box full of cookies, some very dark chocolate brownies and fancy beautiful threads to adorn my little brothers wrist, I send these little beauties across and make sure the recipient gets it well in advance.
A simple sacred red-yellow thread was the norm many many years ago. But now things have changed. Indian market is flooded with designer rakhis which usually cost a bomb. They are visually very appealing, studded with stones and pearls.
Mom always made sure we girls tied a simple thread first and then the fancy shancy ones which we splurged on. The thread adorned the brother’s wrist for days to come, where as the decorative ones usually came out within an hour or two of tying.
So, what do you do if you don’t have a brother? Well, with changing times, this brother sister celebration extended even to sister-sister and brother-brother fanfare. Now, usually boys being boys never indulged in extra ‘frivolous’ things like these. You will never catch a guy tying any thread on another guy’s wrist, but what you will find is this – chirpy cheery girls tying the most decorative piece on their sister’s wrist.
I know this, because that’s what we sisters did for a very long time, until my brother was born. To this date, I send girl rakhis(called Lumbas) for my sisters and they love to showcase them on their bangles.
My brother is all of 17 years old. I was 16 when he was born – oh please don’t do the math to my age 🙂
Having such a small brother is like having a grown up son. He is smart, naughty, caring, witty and hates girl talk. Imagine him living his life surrounded by very talkative sisters, the kind who nagged, the kind who bullied, the kind who also gave in to all his wishes and demands.
I remember him being my handy until I got married and moved away. He would run to do my work, but not before he bullied me into baking some chocolate cake or maybe a bowl full of hakka noodles. Sigh! Those were the days, now the stuff he wants scares the hell out of me – mobile phones, PSP’s .. and what not.
This year, along with the threads, I decided to send some good bakes as well. Its sheer joy when someone, anyone, sends you something hand made – home made. And the insatiable sweet tooth in my brother also gets satisfied with these sweet delights – yay!
I’ve never baked cookies before, so when I came across this easy breezy recipe, I bookmarked it. With the goodness of whole wheat and oats, laced with a hint of cinnamon powder and pure vanilla extract, these cookies were a big crowd pleaser back home.
What we have here is an eggless whole wheat oat cookie recipe. They are dense, crisp and crunchy. If you prefer soft chewy bites, then simply bake them for a lesser time.
For lighter-fluffier cookies, use plain flour/maida instead of whole wheat.
To make 16 medium sized cookies –
- 50 gms butter
- 80 gms powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 2-3 drops of essence
- 1 tbsp of milk
- 50 gms oats
- 75 gms whole wheat flour or plain flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
Optional: gems or MnM’s to decorate
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and creamy. Mix all the dry ingredients, oats, flour, cinnamon powder and baking powder.
Preheat the oven at 175 C.
Mix in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and knead briefly until the cookie dough comes together. Grab small handfuls of the dough, and shape into small balls. Place on a greased or non stick cookie tray at a distance from each other. They will rise and spread.
Bake @150 C for 15 to 20 minutes for a chewy cookie and 25 to 30 minutes for crisp cookies.
To place the MnM/Gems: Midway while baking, wear a glove, place a gem each in the center of every cookie and return to bake.
Once done, allow to cool. Sample if you crave a bite, and store in an airtight container.
My daughter does not enjoy plain sweet treats unless they have a little bit of chocolate in them. Now with the success of these, I am itching to try them with choco chips or even Nutella swirls or maybe some nuts and saffron! The mind does race ahead of its time 🙂
The brother pleased as a punch, hijacks the entire box, merely handing down a piece or two for the others to sample, relishes these sweet delights, calls me up and complains, “Why you didn’t send something savory to eat with all these sweets?”.
No how-are-yous. No Thank-yous. No saccharine talk. Sigh! Brothers.