Do you prefer light and crumbly cookies to enjoy with your evening tea? This bite-sized, melt-in-your-mouth Nankhatai recipe is just for you! Just like eggless coconut cookies, these Indian butter cookies require just a few pantry staples and are deceptively easy to make.
So get ready to fill your home with the delightful smell of the Nankhatai recipe that is an excellent accompaniment to coffee or tea at any time of the day!
What is Nankhatai?
For those unfamiliar with this term, the name Nankhatai comes from the Persian word ‘Naan,’ which translates to bread in English, and khatai means light and flaky biscuit.
In simple words, it indicates a light and buttery biscuits or Indian shortbread cookies made without eggs or leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda).
I am a cookie lover, and whether it be eggless coconut cookies, Dulce de leche thumbprint cookies, eggless shortbread swirl cookies, or tutti frutti cookies, I love freshly baked golden-brown cookies with my cup of chai. So, if you are looking for THE perfect cookie recipe for your upcoming tea party, this nankhatai recipe is worth a try.
Plus, this recipe will take you right back into your childhood days.
Growing up, my mom would bake nankahtais with shudh (pure) ghee and other ingredients in her round small Bajaj oven. The wonderful aroma of Nankhatais would fill through the house, making us wait impatiently for them to be baked.
And the most fun time was the festive time. During the festive season, she would make a huge batch of nankhatais, box them up and share them with family, friends, and neighbors.
But, I think these nankhatais are a perfect sweet treat for every season and occasion.
About the recipe and secret to Khasta Nanakhatai Recipe!
This nankhatai recipe is not your regular cut-out sugar cookies. They are the perfect no-fuss, round and buttery shortbread that doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or baking tools. All you need is a bowl, your gingers, or maybe a spoon, a little refrigeration time before baking, and you are good to go.
The secret to these crumbly yet soft, melt-in-your-mouth nankhatais is ghee. The crunchiness of a nankhatai depends on a good balance of fat and its low moisture content. During baking, the moisture in the ghee evaporates, producing acceptably stiff and crumbly nankhatais.
So, without further ado, let’s get ready to recapture the joy of your childhood with this khasta (flaky) nankhatai recipe that –
- Takes just a few minutes hands on time
- Soft, moist, and delicate, just like the old traditional bakery-bought nankhatais
- Rich and flavorful with a slight hint of cardamom, and
- Incredibly delicious.
Ingredients for Nankhatai Recipe
» Flours — I have used a combination of flours – all-purpose flour, chickpea flour (besan), wheat flour, and semolina (sooji) to create this perfect, no-fail nankhatai recipe. All-purpose flour and wheat flour are the staples, but the addition of besan lends a nice subtle earthy flavor, and likewise, sooji gives a great crunch to the finished cookie nankhatais. This combination lends a sturdy texture, a khasta (crunchy) bite, and a melt-in-your-mouth feeling of a perfect nankhatai.
» Powdered Sugar — Also called confectioners’ sugar, the addition of powdered sugar is what makes these nankhatais incredibly soft and delicate. In addition to that, sugar lends crispy edges and smooth texture to our nankhatais.
» Cardamom Powder — for a hint of flavor. You can substitute cardamom with your favorite extract.
» Salt — An essential ingredient as it draws out the flavor of this nankhatai.
» Ghee — Ghee lends a subtle nutty flavor to these Indian buttery cookies. And its low moisture content adds to the crispiness of our nankhatais.
» Silvered nuts — as a garnish.
How to Make Nankhatai Recipe?
» Combine Dry ingredients — In a large mixing bowl, combine all the flours, salt, and cardamom powder. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
» Add ghee — Gradually add ghee (in its semi-solid state) to the dry ingredients. With your fingers, work the ghee into the flour mix until fully incorporated. Add melted ghee and mix until the mixture comes together like a dough.
» Make Dough balls — Using your hands take two tablespoons of dough and roll it into a small golf-sized ball. Slightly flatten and dough, and using your fingers, smoothen the edges. Place them on a greased baking tray. Make a small ‘X’ or a criss-cross line on all the nankhatais, and sprinkle cardamom powder on top.
» Chill dough — Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. This is an important step, and it will prevent over-spreading.
» Bake — Once chilled, bake the nankhatais in a preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until just slightly golden on the edges.
» Cool — When baked, remove from oven and set them on the counter. Allow the freshly-baked nankhatais to cool in the tray for 4-5 minutes. After that, transfer the nankhatai to a wire rack to finish cooling. As they cool, the nankhatai will continue to firm up.
Frequently asked questions
Can I skip the cardamom powder?
Of course, you can! Though cardamon tastes fantastic in this recipe, you can skip it entirely or replace it with vanilla extract if you are not a fan of this spice.
Why chill the nankhatai dough?
The answer is simple – chilling the dough solidifies the fat (ghee) in the cookies. So when we bake these chilled cookies, the solidified fat/ghee takes time to melt, and during baking, whatever steam is released, it puffs up the dough, and the cookie spreads out less and becomes flaky. And if we start baking the dough without chilling, the fat (ghee) will melt right away, resulting in spread-out flat and greasy cookies.
Can I use a cookie scoop?
You most certainly can! For perfect and consistent in size nankhatais, you can use a cookie scooper to form the ball.
How to store nankhatai recipe?
Once completely cooled, you can store the nankhatais in an airtight container. Nankhatais will keep for about 2-3 weeks if stored properly in a cool area.
How to tell if the nankhatais are baked?
The correct way to tell if this shortbread is done baking is by looking at the edges of the nankhatai. You will see the light golden brown rim around the edges ~ that’s it, the nankhatais are done, but the center will still be soft and very pale to touch.
Why do nankhatai crumble after baking?
Because they were removed from the tray too soon, Nankhatais are still soft when they come out of the oven, so please resist the urge to tough the nankhatais until they have cooled entirely; otherwise, they will crumble and fall apart. This is extremely important to let the nankhatai sit for 5-10 minutes on the baking tray before lifting them.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
These nanhatais are a bit of an indulgence. Once you start munching on them, you will crave for more, and they can vanish from the tray in no time. These are my family’s absolute favorite for a couple of reasons ~
- They are loved by kids and adults alike, and
- These nankhatais are worth every single calorie. Trust me on this; they are genuinely delicious!
Should you make this recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
CRAVING FOR MORE, TRY SOME OTHER Eggless bakes!
|This recipe post has been updated from the archives, first published on August 15, 2015|
Nan Khatai Recipe
- – – Slivered Almonds and Pistachios
- – – Cardamom Powder sprinkle on top
- Combine all-purpose flour, salt, wheat flour, semolina, chickpea flour (besan), eliachi powder, and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Add ghee.
- With your fingers, work the ghee into the flour mix.
- Mix until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Add melted ghee to this flour mix and mix until it forms a soft, pliable dough. Add ghee one spoonful at a time, as you may not need the recommended quantity. PROTIP – When you're done adding melted ghee, the nankhatai dough will be extremely smooth and soft but not sticky.
- Take some dough in your hand, roll it between your hands to finish rounding it like a ball.
- Flatten the ball slightly in the palm of your hand and use your fingertips to smooth out the edges of your nankhatai.
- Repeat this process until all the dough is shaped.
- Place them on a baking tray.
- Gently make a small cut on top of each nankhatai.
- Sprinkle eliachi powder. Cover and chill the unbaked nankhatai in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. After the desired time is over, bake the chilled nankhatai in a preheated oven for 14-16 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is done, remove the nankhatai from the oven
- The center of nankhatai will still be very pale and soft when fresh out of the oven. This is important – let them cool slightly in the tray for 4-5 minutes. As they cool, the nankhatai will continue to firm up.
- Here is what the nankhatai should look like right as they cool.
- Garnish with slivered nuts and store it in an airtight container at room temperature.