Nankhatai (Indian Eggless Shortbread Cookies)


India is known for its variety of scrumptious desserts, and one of the best parts of going back to India for vacation is the food, including these flaky, buttery Nankhatai cookies. There is something about these cookies that is so addictive – perhaps the evergreen combination of salty butter and sweet sugar. One thing is sure though, its difficult to have just one. I sold these at my school’s cultural fair, and they sold out within half an hour, with most people coming back for seconds.

Recipe adapted from:

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup semolina (or sooji)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter (or ghee, if you’re going full desi), at room temperature
Chopped pistachios, to decorate

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, semolina, baking soda and salt, and mix. Using an electric mixer, beat in the softened butter/ghee until a soft dough forms. Chill this dough in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Pinch off about a teaspoons’ worth of chill dough and roll into a ball. Place these balls of dough on the baking sheet, and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Using a knife, draw an ‘X’ on the dough, to allow the Nankhatais to rise. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until very light golden. Allow the Nankhatais to cool before diving right into them. Enjoy!

Makes about 18 cookies, depending on size.



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