Nan Khatai / Indian Eggless Cookies

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Last time it snowed this heavily (at the beginning of this year) I remember taking out my baking gear, kneading a dough and whipping up a bunch of cookies. What is it with winter that we crave for warmth in silly things like a cup of hot chocolate or a plate of cookies or croissant, warm and fresh out from the oven. And no … the store bought ones cannot give that balmy feel. What is winter if your home does not fill up with the aroma of freshly baked goods. While there is nothing like curling up on the couch, snuggling happily under the comforts of a soft plush throw flicking through the pages of a gripping thriller, it is equally rewarding to bake up something sweet or savory for the cold weather. And well who can say no to a little respite from the chill outside as you open the oven door to check on the progress.

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Now the  year has almost come to an end and the first heavy snowfall of this winter inspired a baking spree yet once again. This time I thought of making NanKhatai from Arundhati’s blog. I had already tried this recipe before and it was such a super success that I did not bother looking for an alternate recipe.

For those who are hearing this name for the first time and wondering what on earth it could be – well its another name for Indian egg less cookies, primarily made with clarified butter called ghee (or butter). But they have an Iranian/Persian origin as I concluded from some research on the web. To know more read this article.

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As a child we would get these cookies/biscuits from the bakery man who would come to our doorstep with bread and baked goods. They were always special and less accessible than the usual Marie or ParleG biscuits. As the article rightly says – The soft crumbly nankhatai brings back many a fond memory! To be able to make it at the drop of a hat gives a lot of joy to me and brings it all back home. Sharing this wonderful and super easy recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • All Purpose Flour/Maida – 1 cup
  • Gram Flour Besan – 1/2 cup
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Butter/Ghee – 100 gms or 7 tbsp
  • Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 1-2 tbsp. as required
  • Chopped nuts for garnishing, I used chopped cashews and pistachios

Note – The recipe suggests butter or ghee but strongly recommends using ghee. However  I made these using butter.

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or grease it with some butter/ghee.
  • Seive All Purpose Flour, Gram flour, Baking powder, Baking soda into a mixing bowl.
  • Add cardamom powder to it.
  • In a separate bowl beat the softened butter or ghee and sugar together.
  • Next add the flour mixture and knead it into a dough. At this stage, if you need, add little milk at a time to help in the kneading process. I added 1-2 tbsp but you can adjust the amount as required.
  • Once the dough is done make small balls and flatten them a little with your palms.Top them with chopped nuts for garnishing and press them a little.
  • Place the cookies onto the lined baking sheet, a little apart from each other.
  • Bake them at 350F for 12-15 minutes or till done. Oven timings may vary. The recipe suggests 18-20 minutes, but mine were done in 12 minutes. Test the ‘doneness’ by inserting a toothpick till it comes out clean.
  • Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Always remember that cookies continue to cook for a while even when out of oven, so prevent over-baking.
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Butter Cookies

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All those who know me or read my blog will know how much I love to bake. There is no better mood-booster than beating up a dough and baking it till perfection. So when my husband got a $50 gift coupon from Sears beginning of this year, I knew instantly how to put it to good use. Thereby came home an electric mixer and a food processor. And thus my effortless entry into the world of baking.

More than savoring the home-baked goodies, I like the process of preparing it; taking out my measuring cups, scooping out the flour, kneading the dough with my hands, sprinkling flour, the wonderful aroma – everything is like a therapy for me.

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Last winter was terrible. With 3-4 inches of snow piled outside there was no way I wanted to go outside to buy those blue boxes of Danish butter cookies; so when the craving set in, out came my bakers hat and I inaugurated my hand mixer with this butter cookie recipe from here while BBC helped me in clicking some of the pics. Since that winter morning I never got around to upload this post and was looking for a special occasion to do so.

Now as I participate in the Bake Fest Event #21 hosted by AmritaVishal of Sweet ‘n’ Savory , I think it is a good timeBakeFest-200 to share this entry of Home Baked Butter Cookies with you all. And trust me, if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a jiffy!

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 Ingredients:

  • Butter, unsalted and softened – 1 cup or 8 oz
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Egg yolk – 1 large
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups

Method:

  • In a big bowl add the softened butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat them together until smooth and creamy.

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  • Add the egg yolk and beat in till everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

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  • Add the flour and beat just until incorporated.

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  • Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and transfer the dough.
  • Knead it lightly just till the dough smooths out.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log (round or square) that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Using the flat surface of the knife smooth out the sides so that you have sharp edges.

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  • Wrap each log in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours or preferably overnight). Can also freeze the unbaked logs for up to two months.

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  • Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. and line the baking sheets with a parchment paper.
  • Once the log is firm, with a sharp knife, slice the dough about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick or as you want.
  • Place the slices on the lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

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  • Sprinkle some finely chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds if you want to and press them onto the surface of the unbaked cookie.
  • Bake them for 12 – 15 mins or just until done.
  • Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Note:

  • While shaping them into logs ensure that the dough is tightly packed or else you might get holes in the center. Some of my cookies got that, but not much so it was okay.
  • Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Remember that the cookies keep baking even after taking them out of the oven. So do not over bake and allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely; if they are still soft, you can put them back in the oven for a couple of  minutes again.
  • You can roll out the dough and cut them in various shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • You can decorate it using colored sugar or dip them half into chocolate.

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