Introduction: NANKHATAI/NARAYAN KATAAR (INDIAN SHORTBREAD)
Nankhatai (Indian shortbread) – a melt-in-mouth, cardamom flavored Indian shortbread or cookie traditionally enjoyed during any festival or get together!
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Step 1: INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup ghee/clarified butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
8 to 10 green cardamoms, powdered
Chopped almonds for topping (optional)
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR TRICOLOR NANKHATAIS:
Red, green and yellow food colors (or any other colors of your choice)
Step 2: STEP-WISE INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE INDIAN NANKHATAI:
In a large bowl, stir flour with cardamom powder, sugar and ghee.
Crumble with your fingers to make a bread crumb like mixture.
Using gentle pressure, mix well for a few minutes until if forms a soft dough.
The warmth of the hand will help the sugar to melt and form a smooth and soft dough.
Cover and set aside for about 2 hours.
Step 5: TO MAKE TRADITIONAL NANKHATAIS:
Just before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Centigrade.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make small balls of the dough, press gently and then place on prepared sheet.
You could top each with some chopped almonds or pistachios. Just press some in the center.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until you see cracks in the cookie and bottom is light golden in color.
Step 7: TO MAKE THE TRICOLOR NANKHATAI:
Divide dough into 3 parts.
To one part, add green food color (starting with a few drops).
Mix well to distribute the color throughout until you get the shade of green you want.
For the orange color, add few drops of red color and yellow food color to the second part of dough and mix well.
Adjust the amount of red or yellow to get the right shade of orange.
Leave the third part of dough plain.
Now make small round balls (very small; like large beads) of each color.
Take 2 small balls of orange, 2 of green and 2 of white.
Place them next to each other; adjust the number of balls to get a circle.
Now, gently press from the outer edge to bring all the balls together to the center; make sure it is evenly pressed from all sides.
Keep pressing to join all the balls like this.
Now, transfer it onto your palm and with gentle hands (and pressure) press over the top (using your other hand) ever so lightly and at the same time, rotate clockwise.
Keep checking and continue until you get a beautiful design!
Place these on the baking sheet.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until fluffy and light golden on the bottom
Remove from oven and let cool on pan for a couple of minutes.
Cool completely on wire racks.
Enjoy melt-in-mouth Indian style shortbreads nankhatai as a snack/dessert; it is a perfect sweet treat to share with family and friends at any festival like Diwali, Holi etc. or even as an edible gift during Christmas or any other special occasion.
Happy Baking and Eating!!
Step 15: NOTES:
Amount of ghee can be increased for a more buttery texture but up to 1 cup. If vegan, you could use vegetable shortening instead.
For a dash of color and aroma, you can add a few strands of saffron into the dough.
Make sure to ferment it for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 5 hours.
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