Nankhatai

Nankhatai is a traditional Indian shortbread cookie. If you actually google Nankhatais, you will find many different versions. But every recipe will say one thing which is common – that these cookies are really crispy, crumbly and utterly delicious. I am going to share with you the recipe that I learnt from my mom and I find this is extremely simple with readily available ingredients and has never failed me.

I had actually forgotten about these cookies. When we were visiting my parents last summer mummy made a batch of these for the kids. And they loved it. It was her idea to add chocolate chips to these cookies to make it interesting for her grand kids. Well, she never did that when we were kids. You can skip chocolate chips completely or replace it for other interesting variations of this recipe!

Few things to keep in mind

  • Ingredient Ratio: It is very easy to remember the quantity of the basic ingredients required for this recipe. It is 1:2:3 – 1 part of ghee, 2 parts of sugar and 3 parts of flour!
  • Ghee: I have used ghee while making this recipe. However, if you do not have ghee, you can replace it with room temperature unsalted softened butter too.
  • Sugar: It is best to use powdered sugar for this. You can also add the seeds of a cardamom while powdering the sugar for a flavor variation. I have also made this with castor sugar and that has come out well too. However, I will not recommend using granulated sugar for this.
  • Flour: You may or may not need the entire quantity of flour. It will depend on the weather conditions, how liquid your ghee is and whether you are using ghee or butter. So it is best to add the flour little by little till you get a soft dough. And after adding the entire quantity of flour, if the dough looks sticky, you can add a little more flour.
  • Flavor Variations: I have used chocolate chips in this recipe. You can replace it with any nuts of your choice. You can also add half a tsp of vanilla essence or cardamom powder (or powder the cardamom seeds with the sugar) for different flavors.

Recipe

Ingredient List

  • Ghee (Clarified Butter) / Softened Butter – ¼ Cup
  • Powdered Sugar / Castor Sugar – ½ Cup
  • All Purpose Flour – ¾ Cup
  • Chocolate Chips / Chopped Nuts – 1 tbsp (Can also use 1 tsp of Vanilla essence or pinch of cardamom powder)
  • Salt – a pinch

Step by Step Process

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 deg C, so that its ready by the time you are done preparing the cookies.
  2. Whisk the ghee and sugar properly. If you are adding vanilla essence or cardamom powder, add it at this stage.
  3. Add half the quantity of the flour first and bring the mix together. Add the remaining flour little by little till a smooth and soft dough is formed. You may not need the entire quantity of flour. If the dough seems sticky, then add a little bit more of the flour till it forms a nice smooth ball. (See recipe notes above)
  4. Now you can add in the chocolate chips or the chopped nuts and incorporate it well.
  5. Make it into small balls and place it at a distance on a lined baking tray.
  6. Use the blunt side of a knife to mark a cross pattern on the top of the cookies.
  7. Bake the cookies in the pre-heated oven at 170 deg C for 12 min first. At the end of 12 min, check the bottom of the cookies. A light brown color is what you should be looking for. If it’s not done, keep it for another 2-3 min and check. Remove from oven when done.
  8. Once done, you need to let these cookies cool down properly. They will be quite soft initially when you take them out of the oven, but will become crunchy as it cools down. Take care not to over-bake them, thinking it’s still soft.

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