Monday, February 15, 2010

Mehndi Inspired Spice Cookies


In mid 2009, my oldest and very dear friend told me she was having "one of those years".  You know the kind. Your car starts making a noise, you find out you will be having surgery, the person installing the insulation in your attic falls through the ceiling and into your bedroom... that kind of a year. Unfortunately, it seems the same turbulence has spilled over into 2010.  She's certainly aware that matters could be worse, but still, it just seems she's due for some better luck. I figure she's at least due some delicious cookies!


I wanted to make something fun and personal, yet artful and representative of good fortune.  Ann is a talented artist with an extensive background in print making.  Early in our friendship, we both were intrigued by the beauty of Mehndi design.  We even had a Mehndi/henna decorating party of our own.

The idea came to me that I should do a Mehndi inspired cookie for her.  With our busy lives, we may not have the time to practice this intricate art form, but we can reminisce about it over some delicious spiced roll-out cookies.


I found this recipe at Epicurious.com and it is so delicious, not to mention the perfect canvas for this project.  I was intrigued by the use of ground mustard in the dough.  I didn't know what to expect flavor wise, but found that you really can't taste it at all.  It enhances the other spices in the dough, which are too numerous to mention here. (see recipe)


Spice Roll-Out Cookies

Adapted recipe from Epicurious. For Mehndi themed cookies (pictured) visit ...

See Spice Roll-Out Cookies on Key Ingredient.

After making your dough, you'll divide it into two balls and roll out each between sheets of parchment.  It will need to chill thoroughly, and I would suggest overnight.


I made my own hand template. I didn't have a hand cookie cutter, (although they are available) so I traced my own hand on a piece of heavy watercolor paper and cut it out.  It worked great! I'd say cardboard or poster board would work well also.


After rolling the dough a little thinner, lay the template on the dough and cut around it with a sharp knife. Set the template aside. Transfer hand(s) to parchment lined cookie sheet.  With the back of your knife make lines between the fingers, being careful not to cut all the way through.


After baking the cookies, you're ready for embellishment!  I used a fine-tipped artist's brush and a little brown/black gel food coloring.  You could also use the Wilton's Food Writer in black or brown.


If you feel intimidated about painting the seemingly intricate patterns, I'd suggest starting small, in the middle of the "palm" and work your way out.  Most Mehndi designs are very organic, and easy enough to free-hand, or you can just leave the design to your imagination.

 

If you need additional help with design, there are multiple resources online if you search for "Mehndi".  Here are some examples from a template that came with a kit I had years ago.  I can't believe I still have it!


Some designs have specific meanings, but I didn't decorate my cookies upon that premise. I did use the lotus design, because I found it visually pleasing.  The meaning has something do to with rising from the bottom of the pond, from the mud and muck. That may be appropriate, yes?


Time to package these for mailing! I hope to have them on the way by tomorrow.


Even if Mehndi hands are not in your cookie-making future, I'd suggest giving this unusual but very delicious spicy cookie a try - in whatever shape pleases you most!

Love, (and good fortune!)


P.S. I have no formal education in official Mehndi practices, I only know that it's really pretty.
***These featured on FOODWHIRL, also on Craftzine!

83 comments:

Sanjana said...

These are amazing! Wow! So creative! I can't wait to have a go!

Flirting with Flour said...

Truly a work of art. These are beautiful cookies. I love that you portrayed culture in the design of something as basic as a cookie. Sometimes I see the recipes and creativity of other bloggers and just wonder how you come up with these things?! :) I think of myself as pretty creative - perhaps I am inexperienced. What an inspiration. I will DEFINITELY be making these in the future.

April said...

These are gorgeous!!!

Chic Cookies said...

Wow! That's what I just said out loud and no one is even in the room with me. So utterly fabulous and clever. (I posted a link to your site on my column, ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com)

Diana's Cocina said...

Awesome! I enjoy a good spice cookie with a cup of hot tea.

a little bit of everything said...

These are magnificent! I imagine it would be hard to eat them and not just shellac them and use them as a decoration! You are very talented!
The recipe does sound tasty and I will have to give it a try.
I am following your blog and it would be great if you did the same.

AlyciAmore said...

Those are amazing! A friend of mine just had a mehndi party that I missed unfortunately but this would have been perfect to bring. Ill just have to find a reason to make these!

Sunday said...

Heather these are just lovely and such a nice and thoughtful gift for a friend. Beautiful designs and interesting sounding cookies!

Ingrid said...

Those look amazing. How thoughtful of you, too!
~ingrid

Anonymous said...

i just want to cry, theyre so beautiful

Heavenly Housewife said...

Just found your website, I am beyond impressed. These are so pretty. In Indian cultures when they have mendhi ceremonies, this would be an awesome thing to serve:)
*kisses* HH

Gala said...

I love this idea, the cookies look gorgeous.

Bethie said...

Beautiful!!

feasting.in said...

These cookies are absolutely stunning! They're definitely an eye catcher.

.:Kieran

cookies and cups said...

How cool are these!?! Awesome job!

La Table De Nana said...

Superb! How nice of you also~

lostpastremembered said...

Spectacular cookie!!! They are so unusual and I love the idea of writing/painting a cookie instead of regular frosting... really great!!!!!

veggie wedgie said...

Love these! Very unique :)

Jane M said...

Wow these cookies look fan-damn-tastick. I just might have to give them a try! I've never painted on a cookie before - I wonder if I'd be any good at.

Carolyn Jung said...

Wow, these are such an elegant alternative to the usual, overly sugared and overly frosted sugar cookies. Just lovely! And what a thoughtful friend you are to have made these to cheer up a struggling soul.

Beryl said...

So incredibly beautiful. What a wonderful gift.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

These are AMAZING! So, so creative. I'm blown away. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

Memória said...

You know that these are absolutely stunningly beautiful, right?! Sure you do. Wow. Great job.

Mara... said...

These might just be too beautiful to eat. Absolutely amazing, what a creative and clever idea and you executed it beautifully. I love your blog!!!

Jess said...

WOW! I am indian, and I have NEVER though of doing this (perhaps because mehendi is such a daunting task!) This is quite innovative!! I've acutally been keeping up with your blog for sometime, but i haven't had the chance to acutally comment! I'm looking into starting my own food blog (even though my cooking is at a minimium since i am going to school and working!!) any tips?

Laura Bray said...

Simply beautiful. What a good friend you are!

Laurie said...

These are such a divine creation Heather. I am so impressed with your baked goods! This past weekend was my daughters birthday and I baked
the colorful spiral cookies. I posted them today with gratitude and a link to you. Grazi and Ciao! Laurie @ DMC

The Blonde Duck said...

Those are amazing! They're so intricate!

Megan said...

Your not only a fabulous baker but a dear sweet friend. Bless you!
Cookies are awesome and a very interesting recipe to boot!

gravitando said...

These are the most beautiful cookies I've ever seen!

Your blog is inspiring me to learn to bake!

JojoKrang said...

Awesome idea. I like how the ingredients reflect the theme. Spicy and oriental, that's how I would imagine a mendhi hand cookie. I'm not a fan of artificial food colouring so I wonder if you could use black sesame paste or cocoa powder instead of the black food gel. I hope your friend gets better soon.

Lynnette said...

A very thoughtful project not to mention yummy and good looking!

Trix said...

I saw the photo on Refrigerator Soup, and I just had to click through, the image is so arresting! Very cool.

anna said...

These are so beautiful - what a sweet idea!

Dot said...

These are so lovely! (Look for them to come up next week on foodwhirl.com!)

Nice to have found you...I've already added you to my twitter links.

dot
www.Foodwhirl.com

The Apple Hill Adventurer said...

wow, those are quite impressive!

Laurie said...

Heather these cookies are absolutely breathtaking. I would have been stoked.. as I'm sure your friend was to recieve these! Good fortune to both of you! And p.s. thank you! I saw the link.. you are so sweet!!
Mine pale in comparison though! :)

Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com} said...

These really are stunning!
You did a fabulous job :)

Dot said...

Just to let you know, you're cookies are spotlighted today on Foodwhirl.com

http://foodwhirl.com/spotlight/spotlight-mehndi-cookies

M. said...

so beautiful and creative....love the idea, I might even try it...
:)

Wendy said...

Brilliant idea! And it's so funny because I just found you through foodwhirl and the banner on my site has a picture of my hands with almost this exact same design.

Peggy of Plush Nest said...

this is so cool!
They'd be great for a bridal shower. I'm saving this in my "I have to try" recipe folder.

PhatGrrl said...

Great idea. I wouldn't have considered this and it looks so lovely. I use Mehndi in workshops, this is another great way to get some of the children I work with to practice. Thank you!

Susan Crabtree said...

these are amazing!!

Susan Crabtree said...

p.s. I featured them on my blog this morning: http://puertabella.blogspot.com/2010/02/mehndi-spice-cookies.html

andrea worsfold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andrea worsfold said...

thanks for sharing the story behind your cookie making. i, too, have had "one of those years" for the past 18 months, and i appreciate your kindness to your friend. also: BEAUTIFUL work!

Whimsy Cookie Co. said...

I love these!! Very creative!!

Ashley said...

I featured these on my blog today! www.attention2detailblog.blogspot.com

++MIRA++ said...

these are very creative!ive never seen anything like this. lovez it!

Mathmom and family said...

I had my husband come see this and even he said, "WOW!" These cookies are amazing. I cannot wait to make these with my kids when we study India.

Sue Sparks said...

How did I miss these?!? AWESOME!!!

Cristie said...

What a generous offering to a friend in "crisis"- aren't we all there at some point? The cookies are almost to beautiful to eat!

Mitali Perkins said...

Wow! I'll have to ask a baker friend to bake these for a book-related event! Thanks.

Bigarade said...

WOW! these are sooooooo snazzy!
im going to have to make some now...
it is now officially compulsory!

theamplegoddess said...

This is so awesome! When my daughter was little, we'd mehndi our feet for "girl time". It would be fun to bake these with her, even though she's grown up!

Chelsea said...

These are beautiful! How many hand cookies does the recipe make?

Kavey said...

Having landed on your blog on the chocolate spoons post, and started exploring, and left a comment on the chocolate pot and macarons post... I'm exploring more and WOW this one blows me away!

I'm a Brit, parents immigrated from India, and one of the things I loved, visiting family back home, especially for weddings, was mehndi hands.

This is genius!

sugar, spice & everything nice said...

This is such a wonderful idea ! And it's not only an Indian thing. In the middle east, specificaly Arabian gulf region, we have the same henna tradition. Specially before weddings, women get together and bring a specialized henna artist and start a little party wearing wonderful traditional clothes.

This treat is just perfect for such events ! You are very creative.

My friend and I kind of started to develop some baking passion and we're posting our humbled experiences on a blog recently. We get inspired from really wonderful blogs such as yours. Hope you can find sometime to check it.

--Nora :)

alison said...

Amazing! I can't wait to do this with my kids next week as we take our journey around the world to India.

Nandita Amin said...

what an amazingly innovative and funky idea! going to try these at a tea party i'm having. wonder what i could use to make the mehndi designs as i dont have access to what you have suggested? any ideas?

Arti said...

What an idea...simply love this design..Ive tried mehndi so many times but never on a cookie..sounds like fun...I agree you could get the design templates online

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I love these!! Can I pay someone to bake these for me?

Anonymous said...

its kinda weird that ur eating hands. =\ the design is good though.

Vone said...

Great idea. I saw these ages ago on Craftzine and bookmarked it. My friend is having a multi-faith wedding - muslin/canadian white girl :) On the Friday evening is the Gayle Haloud which the guests are asked to bring sweets. I thought a batch of these would be fun. I just have to find the right mehndi pattern for a wedding. Thanks for the fabulous ideas. So pretty and tasty looking.

Sarah said...

So cute. I love to bake too. This is something different for me to try.

Lee-Ann said...

These cookies are so stunning I wouldn't dare eat one! I think I might try these!

Swathi said...

Cookies looks really awesome. I think very difficult eat. I like to look at them rather than eat.

Lauren said...

I love this idea! It is so unique and the icing is beautiful!

Nesreen said...

these cookies are great! I love the idea as well and they taste delish. yum yum

Mannatech said...

mmmm I want to eat the hand cookie please! ;')

Sarah Maccarelli said...

They are GORGEOUS! I wish I could buy them for my wedding :)

Mike Geary said...

I really love cookies . Want to eat Them :)

GUster47 said...

I love the stuff that you make! Cooking and art together, that totally blasts me off!
I'd so love to make them at home but the link of the recipe can't seem to work with me...

Greetings from Italy anyway!

Anonymous said...

I do a lot of internet recipe browsing and this is by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Brilliant!

apotek dk said...

Det er sådan en vidunderlig idé, og det er ikke kun en indisk ting. I Mellemøsten, specificaly arabiske Golf-regionen, har vi den samme henna tradition.

Marla said...

These henna cookies are awesome - can't believe I never saw this post before. SO creative!

Jon Hall said...

That doesn't look like a cookie. Looks more like a wooden wall decor.

Mike said...

I really like this baking masterpiece of yours. Please keep up the great work.

Asmita said...

This is such a creative idea to make henna cookies. I am sure my Indian friends and family will be thrilled to hear about this. Wonderful to give as party favors at a henna ceremony .

Queen Sashy said...

Love it!

nina kavin said...

Hi there, I just found this amazing recipe and design. They are gorgeous! Can you tell me how many cookies this recipe makes? I'm doing an Indian theme for my fiftieth birthday party and these would be great! I'm having 70 people...

sue oxley said...

I was googling to find ideas for an Indian theme party and think this will make a perfect party favor. Great post, thank you

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