Chocolate Nankhatai – Indian Shortbread Cookies made with ghee
I’d like to think of Chocolate Nankhatai as the Indian iteration of Chocolate Chip or Chunk cookies. And when I say ‘Indian’ it’s because these are so well-adapted to our tastes, liking and even the weather! Nankhatai are in essence, shortbread cookies, but what the Dutch brought to India as cookies made with butter, we’ve made our own with various versions that include ghee or clarified butter, chickpea flour or besan and even semolina (sooji). I like to add roughly chopped chunks of chocolate to nankhatai because I love the surprise that comes with getting slightly uneven pieces of chocolate. You could, of course, use chocolate chips instead here.
Ghee is a must for me while making nankhatai! I’ve tried these with butter, and you guessed it… the version with ghee is far superior. Icing sugar instead of castor sugar makes it easier to blend in, but if you don’t have any at hand, just take some regular sugar and blend it to a powder-y consistency to use here. And while I love making large batches of Nankhatai using my KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, you can easily use a hand mixer or even just a whisk to do the job here.
And where would we be without some cardamom? They complement the 45% dark chocolate here so well!
If plain Nankhatai are more your thing, then I have recipe for that too. Check out this link. Now, coming to the all-important issue of cracks in the nankhatai. Let me assure you – some cracks are absolutely fine! They also depend so much on hot spots in the oven, dryness in the air. Think back to the nankhatai of your childhood or even the ones available at The Bombay Canteen – recall the slight cracks – so please don’t sweat about it as long as these turn out delicious! If you would like t avoid them, the best measure I can tell you is that if you find them turning slightly dry while you shape them into rounds, then add a dash of milk. They should not feel dry or have cracks while you shape them, as those cracks will deepen. I had my chocoholic brother in mind while coming up with this recipe, and I hope you’ll try it this Rakhi or bookmark it for Diwali. In fact, these make for great homemade Diwali gifts too! This Chocolate Earl Grey Cake is what I made for my brother a couple of years ago for Rakhi.
Nankhatai - Indian Shortbread Cookies made with Clarified Butter and with Chunks of Chocolate!
￼ Nankhatai are Indian shortbread cookies that are made with clarified butter or ghee instead of butter and get a rich flavour with the addition of chickpea flour or beasn. I make mine a tad bit more special with the addition of chocolate chunks and cardamom powder. These are eggless and are perfect festive cookies or desserts. They store well in an air tight container ￼
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment / silpat.
In the bowl of the Stand Mixer (or just in a regular bowl using a whisk), cream together the ghee and icing sugar, using the paddle attachment.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flours and salt. Whisk in the cardamom powder. Add these dry ingredients to creamed sugar & ghee in 3 batches, beating well to incorporate after each addition
Add the milk, a little at a time, and work it through the dough (do this by hand) to get a texture where the dough clumps together when pressed together and can be shaped into balls without crumbling or developing cracks (very important). If it is crumbly and has cracks, then work some more milk into the dough. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
Shape the dough into 15 to 18 individual rounds and place on the baking sheet Garnish with chopped pistachios.
Bake in the uppermost section of oven with the only the bottom heating option working. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the tray half way through baking time. Cool on a wire rack completely before eating. Store in an air tight container.