Sunday, July 24, 2011

Almond Nankhatai: Indian shortbread cookies

Every cook needs to have that tried and tested recipe to fallback on during dire times.I have a cookie recipe that has come in handy during several emergencies. Say I need to impress the in-laws in a flash, or cook a last minute dish for a potluck, bring that a-ha cookie to a bake sale or fedex a mothers day gift that wont spoil in transit? Out pops the recipe of this unassuming cookie, all battered and bruised from the elements in my kitchen. I am talking of course of, Almond Nankhatai. No egg, Indian shortbread style cookie with the flavours of almonds and cardamom. Each cookie is feather light, crumbly and melts readily in the mouth. Ofcourse thats because of all the butter that goes into it. But hey, you don't have to eat them all. This recipe is meant for sharing.

You can customize the master recipe by replacing some of the almonds with other nut powders, adding a tad bit extra cardamom or saffron to please you palate. Roll our the dough and use a cookie cutter to shape the cookies any which way you please. Or just shape them into the traditional rounds and flatten them slightly between your palms. What ever you do, make sure all your cookies are evenly sized. And time them closely, since cooktime will vary based on the shape.

Almond Nankhatai (Indian Shortbread Cookies)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons ground almonds
½ lb or 2 sticks of butter
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly powdered cardamom
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Use your
hands to bring everything together into a ball

Shape your cookies anyway you want. I simply take about 2 tablespoons
of dough, roll it into a round and lightly flatten in my palms.

Bake at 350 degree F for 15 – 20 mins or
until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Note that the cookies will still be soft to the touch when they are hot/warm out of the oven.