Celebrate DIWALI-Kali Puja with SWEETS and COOKIES

New Delhi, Nov 4 (Calcutta Tube) Choco chip cookies, honey biscotti, orange drops, coconut crunch, sugarless raisin…The Diwali gift platter has been sweetened this time by a mind-boggling array of cookies, which are being snapped up as an alternative to sweetmeats and dry fruits.

Unlike ‘mithais’, many see cookies as a healthier gifting option and something that doesn’t have to be stored in a refrigerator, only to be forgotten. They are also cheaper than dry fruits.

Nita Sharma, a housewife in the capital, said, ‘We wanted to gift something that could be eaten and also stored for long unlike ‘mithai’ (sweetmeats), which begins to get spoilt if not consumed soon. So we zeroed in on assorted cookies.’

Shops have a good variety of cookies on display for Diwali, which falls Friday.

‘People want to give gifts that can be used instead of lying around in the box,’ Atul Tondon of the Wenger’s Pastry shop in Connaught Place told IANS.

‘Since the economy has opened up and so many new gift ideas are coming up, people are not concentrating on one thing, they are trying to do something different with every festive season.’

The change in lifestyle and consumption behaviour has inspired bakers to innovate.

Wenger’s Pastry, one of the oldest bakeries in the capital, offers 20-30 different varieties of cookies made of almond, pista and some even made American style.

The demand for cookies has increased by more than 60 percent over the years, say bakers. Since people are becoming more health concious, they are avoiding sweets.

‘The khoya used in sweets is high on fat. Since people are becoming health conscious, they are opting for something that is low in calories. Cookies are low on calorie and fat. We even provide sugar free cookies,’ said Surinder Singh Rawat of Patisserie Petunia in DLF Shopping Complex, DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon.

Compared to traditional sweets and other bakers, Wenger’s pricing is on the higher side with the range starting from around Rs.400 per kg while other bakers sell it at Rs.300 per kg.

Rawat sells honey biscotti for Rs.60 per 200 gm, whole wheat jaggery for Rs.50 per 200 gm, and sugarless raisin Rs.50 per 200 gm.

Cookies have a longer shelf life. News of adulterated khoya being seized by law enforcement agencies has also persuaded people to shift to cookies.

‘With so many adulterated sweets in the market it becomes difficult to differentiate which is worth buying and worth eating. That is the reason people are looking for alternatives like cookies,’ said Ram from The Grand Plaza bakery in DLF Shopping Complex.

‘A lot of sugar and ghee is used while making sweets which is keeping people away from buying them.’

Cookies are increasingly being purchased by the upper middle class. Those from a higher strata of society are still going in for dry fruits. One can even ask for customised cookies, but orders for these need to be placed two days in advance.

Of course, it goes without saying that diehard ‘mitahi’ fans will still choose to sink their teeth into barfis and laddoos!

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at priyanka.s@ians.in)

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