There’s something about Diwali that makes me crave Nankhatai!
These crumbly, eggless cookies owe their origins to Dutch presence in India, but I love how they have taken on a distinct Indian flavour with the addition of ghee and chickpea flour (besan). Sometimes, you’ll find half the chickpea flour being substituted with sooji (semolina), and that works really well too, but this recipe has just two flours: All-Purpose and Chickpea.
I usually make nankhatai in huge batches and gift them in the lead up to Diwali. This is where my KitchenAid Stand Mixer comes in handy… I can make at least 100 of these in a day, in a cinch!
We’ll start with creaming the ghee and icing sugar. I have to confess, I love the smell of ghee!
Slowly add the two flours that have been sifted together with salt and cardamom. Otherwise, stirring the cardamom through later can be quite a task.Adding the milk to this dough is crucial. So much depends on the humidity around you. The rule of thumb that I go by is to add a little at a time, until the dough clumps together and can be shaped into balls without crumbling apart or developing cracks in it.
My favourite addition to this has to be of chocolate chunks. Chocolate chips would work too, but chunks are a personal favourite. I’ve worked with a 45% dark chocolate in this recipe. Work the chocolate into the dough as evenly as you can and shape it into a large ball…
And then bake on a parchment / silpat lined baking sheet
In just 20 minutes, the nankhatai will be done! The hardest part is definitely waiting for them to cool before you can eat them.
Makes 15 to 20 nankhatai
– Ghee (clarified butter): 100 gms
– Icing Sugar: 80 gms
– All-Purpose Flour: 120 gms
– Chickpea Flour: 60 gms
– Cardamom Powder: ½ teaspoon
– Milk: 1 to 2 Tablespoon
– 45% Dark Chocolate, (chopped in chunks): 100 gms
– Pistachios (chopped): 1 tablespoon
– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment / silpat.
– In the bowl of the KitchenAid Artisan Series 4.8 L Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (link), 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.