Nankhatai (Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Nankhatai (Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Vijaya Selvaraju

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Crunchy pistachios, cardamom and chickpea flour elevate the flavor of these fluffy shortbread cookies.

Nankhatai (Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)

  • 1/2 cup semolina

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1 cup solid ghee

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together ghee and sugar until light and fluffy

  3. In a separate bowl, combine flours, semolina, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Whisk to combine.Pour ghee/sugar mixture into flour mixture, and gently mix until no flour can be seen.

  4. Roll 1 1/2-inch diameter balls, and place them on the lined baking tray, ensuring there's space between each ball. The cookies will expand as they bake.

  5. Poke your knuckle into the top of each ball, and place a few pieces of pistachio on top.

  6. Chill cookies for 5 minutes in the freezer.

  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. (The cookies will not brown significantly.)

  8. Allow to cool overnight, or at least 2 hours before peeling off parchment paper. Enjoy!

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Transcript

- When I was a little kid and we had parties my mom would always make these cookies. And no one knew that they were Indian cookies. All that they knew were that they were delicious. Lemme show you how to make them. We're gonna begin by mixing together our Ghee and sugar. And all that ghee is is clarified butter. And we tend to use ghee more in Indian cuisine than we do butter, which means all the milk solids have been removed and you're just left with this pure, golden, deliciousness. And they're super easy to mix together. Yum. I love the smell of ghee. It's kinda nutty and rich. So you wanna kinda mix it until it's light and fluffy. Just like this. See that? That's the perfect texture. Now on to our dry ingredients. So I have a combination of flours here. So we have everyday all-purpose flour that's going in, and that's gonna give the cookies a bit of stability. And to that I'm gonna add some chickpea flour, which is also known as Besan. And it's super nutty in flavor. And it's gonna give the cookies a tender bite. And then for a little bit of crunch, a little bit of texture, we're gonna add some Semolina. For leavening I have some baking powder, and they're gonna help the cookie puff up ever so slightly. And whenever I cook a dessert I like to add a big pinch of salt just to balance out all the flavors. And last but not least cardamom. It's one of my favorite spices. It smells super floral. Mm, just so good! It's a simple spice, and it's the only spice you need in this recipe. Nice, how easy was that? Now I'm gonna take this ghee and sugar mixture and introduce that into the dry ingredients. I'm gonna give that a nice mix. And then once it's done being mixed up, it kinda looks like golden sand on the best beach you've ever been on in your life. And then you're just gonna grab little bits of it and then form it into a ball. And then you're just gonna put it on a baking sheet, and you're gonna wanna do this until your baking sheet is full. And because there are no eggs in this, or any other sort of liquid to bind to the cookies, they're gonna be super, super tender. They're literally gonna melt in your mouth. Perfect! And now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take one of my knuckles and I'm gonna make a tiny little imprint at the top, just to make some space for the pistachio. Perfect! And a few pistachios in each, and you just wanna press them in. Just like that. Alright, and we're done. And now a really important step for making Nankhatai is to put the dough in the freezer before you bake it, that way it retains it's shape as it bakes up. Let's head there. These are gonna chill for about five minutes and then I'm gonna pop them directly into a 375 degree oven for about 15 to 18 minutes. I've been super patient waiting for these cookies to cool, and now they're ready. It's actually really important to let these cool down 'cause if you touch them, they're like sand, they will literally fall apart, and you need the ghee and everything to chill. But now we're good to go. So mission Nankhatai accomplished. Let's give this a taste. Mm-mm-mm-mm! It's kind of this cool powdery texture. I love the flavor of the cardamom, and the crunch of the pistachios on top. Such an unusual combination, right? Chickpea flour in a cookie. Who would have ever thought? These are Nankhatais.

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