Nankhatai are Indian Shortbread biscuits/cookies. They are eggless, really easy to make, require just a few ingredients, does not take a long time and definitely easy on the wallet as well. This biscuit is mostly made around any festival in India.
I first came across this biscuit in Bombay (now known as Mumbai) as a child, where these biscuit /cookies sellers called ‘Biscuitwala Bhaiya’, carrying a huge aluminum ‘Peti’ (trunk) on their head, would go door to door selling them. My family, like many others, would buy from these sellers. The Nankhatai was long rectangle cookie, white in color, with a unique crunchy but melt in your mouth taste, that was Heavenly. That was one of my fondest memory of eating Nankhatai and ever since I love these cookies. These cookies are topped generally with some kind of sliced nut or sometimes a thumbprint with a red colored fruit Jam, but most of the times they are left plain without any topping.
In Goa, Nankhatai is also one of the sweet treats that families like to make and share with one another. For this recipe I have used slivered Pistachios and strawberry jam just to match with the festive season but you choose to use nuts or jam or even leave them plain. This Christmas though it’s different and for some a difficult one because of the Pandemic but we all are managing to pull through it. This Christmas I hope and pray we all get through this together safely.
Have yourself a Merry Christmas and Enjoy making this sweet this Christmas.
1 and 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup. Ghee (clarified butter) or Salted Butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
2 tbsp. of fine semolina
A few Pistachios slivered (optional)
1 tbsp. of any Red Jam of your choice (optional)
1/4 tsp. of Cardamom/cinnamon powder (optional)
Preheat your oven a 180oC and line a baking tray with parchment paper and slightly grease it or spray with ghee or butter so the biscuits won’t stick.
Combine the semolina and AP flour together and set it aside, if you would like you can add the spice and mix it with the flour.
In a large bowl, put in the ghee and whisk it a bit to emulsify to look like creamy consistency,
Once done, add sugar one third at a time and whisk it to be incorporated well.
Now you can switch from a whisk to a spoon. Add the flour again one third a time to combine it well to form into a soft dough ball. If its too sticky you can add more AP flour but one tbsp at a time till you get a soft dough ball
Tip: Once it all comes together that should be fine do not over mix it as the cookies may tend to be tough.
Once the dough is ready, pinch off a bit of dough and roll it to a smooth small ball shaped size.
Place the dough ball on the lined baking tray
If you are using Pistas, then take one piece and lightly press on the top of the dough ball
If you are using a jam then using your thumb, gently press down lightly in the middle to make a dent and fill it with a tiny amount of jam.
When all done, bake the cookies for about 15-18 minutes, they will puff up gently. Do not bake them for more than 20 minutes as they could darken and wouldn’t taste the way it’s supposed to.
Remove them from the oven and let the cookies cool off on the tray for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool off completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container once they are cooled.
Enjoy it at Christmas !!!