Nankhatai are traditional Indian sweet eggless cookies that are delicious. Usually prepared with refined flour/maida, I have baked the same with a combination of whole wheat flour, gram flour, refined flour etc for a healthier version of the same. Also I added milk masala powder to enhance its flavour and the end product was awesome. Sharing my version of nankhatai below.
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/2 cup maida/ refined flour
• 1/2 cup gram flour / besan
• 1 tbsp fine semolina/ chiroti rava
• 1/2 cup melted ghee at room temperature + 2 tbsp or a little more if required
• 1 cup sugar powder ( adjust to sweetness required)
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp milk masala powder
• A pinch of cardamom powder
• A minute pinch of salt
- Sift the flours, baking powder, a minute pinch of salt twice, then add semolina, milk masala, cardamom powder, mix well and keep aside.
- First mix 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp melted ghee and powdered sugar and whisk well till smooth and fluffy. Add the flour mix slowly till it all comes together. The dough should be soft and smooth. In case you feel the dough is crumbling or cracks only then add a little more ghee slowly.
- Rest the dough covered for at least an hour. I set the dough aside for 2 hours. Then divide the dough into small equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball and then flatten it a bit on top to get round flat nankhatai. There should be no cracks. Now make slight criss cross cuts on the top of the nankhatai with a blunt knife. This is not necessary but I feel this gives the nankhatai breathing space to expand and rise. That’s just my thinking.
- Preheat the oven at 150 degree C for 15 minutes.
- Either grease a baking tray with ghee or line the tray with parchment paper. I personally prefer lining the tray as it keeps the tray clean, stain free and mess free. Place the nankhatai on a baking tray at equal distance. Keep a distance between each nankhatai as they will expand.
- Keep the baking tray on the center rack of the preheated oven and baje the nankhatai at 150 degree C for 20 to 25 minutes. I had to bake them for exactly 22 minutes. A sign that the nankhatai are baked is the bottom turns light golden brown in colour. Baking time varies for each oven. So do a first check at 15 minutes. Please note that the top of the nankhatai does’nt change colour, only the bottom does. Once done remove from the oven after 2 to 3 minutes and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, line a blotting paper at the bottom of a cookie jar and store the nankhatai.
- Baking time varies for each oven so be careful not to overbake the nankhatai.
- The bottom side of the cookies should be light golden brown in colour. Do not brown them.
- In old model OTG’s the bottom heating element should be ON. The new models have a baking mode option.
- Baking the nankhatai at low temperature helps in baking the nankhatai totally and perfectly from inside.
- The texture of these nankhatai will NOT be like the ones available in bakeries as unless otherwise specified vanaspathi ghee / dalda is used in bakeries which gives the perfect texture. However I would’nt recommend the same. I have used Nandini cow ghee as it is healthy. If not available I opt for Amul cow ghee. Ghee lends an unique aroma as well as flavour to the nankhatai.
- I have added maida in a smaller proportion as the cookies turned out lighter than when I tried skipping it totally.
- Resting the dough improves the texture of the nankhatai.
- Adding semolina adds to the crunch of the nankhatai.
- Preheating the oven for 15 minutes is very important if not the cookies will turn out flat.
- These days in most bakeries nankhatais, cookies are placed in trays for display but earlier they used to be kept in glass jars and there used to be a white paper lined at the bottom of the jar. Out of curiosity I had asked as to why the same was kept and the baker said, it was blotting paper and it retained the freshness and crunchiness of cookies. Well, I follow that tip ever since I started baking nankhatai and yes it does keep them fresh and crisp.