Jan 5, 2011

Simple Indian Butter Cookies (Eggless Nankhatai)

Hello and welcome to my blog! I hope you have a pleasant time here. This is my first post, and I'm starting off with a recipe that I have loved since I was a kid.

This recipe has been passed on to me from my mom, and to her from my grandmother. There's absolutely nothing fancy about this one; anyone should be able to get it right. And yet these are so delightful! Every summer, so many of my mother's friends would drop by to learn to bake these lovely treats. And now, I'm happy to be sharing it with you on my blog.

When made right, these cookies are crunchy to bite and yet, melt in the mouth. In India these are available in local bakeries under the name of "Nankhatai."

This was my first attempt at baking these cookies, so I was really nervous! I had my mom's legacy to live up to. Thankfully, they turned out to be pretty good. At least, my husband polished them off in no time!

RECIPE ~ Indian Butter Cookies ~ Makes 25 cookies, 1 inch in diameter

  • Powdered Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 1 and a 1/2 cup
  • Melted and cooled Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1 cup - will vary according to dough consistency
  • cooking soda - 1/2 pinch

Note: The cups indicated above are not standard cup measures, they only show the proportions. Feel free to use any cup from your kitchen.
The powdered sugar I used did not contain any cornflour. Measure after powdering.

Utensils & Bakeware
  • Mixing Bowl and Spoon
  • Cookie Sheets or Baking Trays provided with Oven
  • OTG/Convection Oven - Regular or Microwave
  • Cooling Rack or Tray
  • Prepare cookie sheet(s) by greasing generously with ghee.
  • In a mixing bowl place the baking soda and add approx. 4 tablespoons of melted ghee. Mix until soda dissolves.
  • To this, add the powdered sugar a little at a time, stirring constantly. Take care to eliminate any lumps.
  • The sugar and ghee should form a very thick batter (pancake/dosa) like consistency. Add more ghee if required to reach this stage.
  • Add the flour half cup at a time and mix well. Feel free to abandon the spoon at this time, and use your hands if needed.
  • The final dough can be tested in two ways. Sweetness: It must be to your liking. Consistency: Roll a small ball between the palms and flatten slightly. Must hold the shape perfectly without cracks. If there are cracks, it's too hard, so add some more ghee. If it doesn't hold it's shape, there's too much ghee, so adjust with more sugar and flour.
  • Once the dough is ready, roll into equal sized balls, and while rolling, flatten each ball gently between the palms. The size of each cookie is totally your call.
  • Place on cookie sheet with approx 1/2 inch gap between cookies ( they'll expand when baked).
Baking Instructions
  • Preheat: 160 - 170C for 10 minutes
  • Bake: 160 - 170C for 20 minutes
  • Insert a thin toothpick in the center to check for doneness. It must come out clean. 
  • Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Note: The cookies would be very soft when hot, so it's easy to mistake them for not being done. Once cooled they will harden considerably.
Baking temperatures might vary depending on the oven. Go by your oven manual.

Additional Options
  • Vanilla/Rose essence may be added for flavoring and aroma.
  • Almonds/Cashew can be used as a garnish. Dip in milk and place on top of the each cookie dough before baking.
  • Coloring such as saffron or other food colors may be added.

Please do try this recipe and don't forget to share your experience. Any question, comment, feedback is always welcome. I'm happy to hear from you!

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