Nankhatai recipe– egg free, crispy, flaky and tasty Indian shortbread cookies flavored with ghee, saffron or cardamom. These traditional eggless Indian shortbread cookies are often made with various flours like besan or gram floNanur , semolina mixed with all purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
These nan khatai are so delicate, they crumble and melt in your mouth, delicious and flavorful. You sure are going to love these absolutely delightful little cookies as they are so easy to make too. Here is how to make best nankhatai recipe with step by step photos.
About Nankhatai- Indian Shortbread Cookies
These shortbread cookies or nankhatai as we call in India is something we grew up with. Baked in that big aluminum oven with a glass top, these cookies simply scream festival for us, especially Diwali. These are also known as shortbread biscuits.
These nankhatai are very popular during Diwai in north India but my mom always made these at home whenever we wanted and also during Diwali. These shortbread cookies make an excellent festive gift.
If you have tried delicious little treats from Indian bakeries, you will know the rage about these shortbread cookies.
Now even I make these nankhatai cookies year around and especially during diwali. Usually we prepare nankhatai with plain flour and other flours like besan or chickpea flour, semolina or sooji etc.
I love to try various cookies recipes at home. Homemade cookies are an excellent choice for kids snack box or after school with flavored milk like chilled badam milk, saffron milk, pistachio milk during summer or spiced hot chocolate during winters.
The specialty of these cookies are these are baked with ghee or clarified butter as it is called in United States and other countries outside India.
Ghee is raising as super food these days and it has always been an integral part of Indian cooking. Along with many many sweets we use ghee in making biryani, pulao, baking and of course serve with rice or roti daily.
Also you do not absolutely need an OTG or convection oven to bake nankhatai. You can easily bake these cookies on stove top for which I have included below.
Once baked you can store these cookies for 12-15 days in airtight containers. Serve nankhatai as snack with ginger tea, masala tea, mint tea, jaggery tea or coffee. This Nankhatai Recipe Is
Easy, simple & straightforward to make
Crispy, flaky and rich
Absolutely delicious & flavorful
Needs very less hands on time. You just have to let the dough chill for sometime
Uses no baking powder or soda
Egg less & 100 % vegetarian
Kids just love this homemade treat.
Flour– Traditionally nankhatai are baked with a mix of all purpose flour or maida, besan chickpea flour and semolina. While besan or chickpea flour adds flavor and texture, semolina makes these cookies so crispy. You can also make these cookies with whole wheat flour.
Fat- The fat used is the most important component of this cookie. As with any shortbread cookie, we are not using any baking soda or powder here also. Also as there are no eggs, you cannot skimp on fats.
While you can use ghee or softened butter or even oil here, my choice is always ghee. Nothing like nankhatai made with ghee 🙂
Sweetener- For this recipe we are using powdered regular sugar sweetener. You can try using jaggery powder or powdered palm sugar but that will change the flavor, taste and color. I prefer my nan khatai the way I had while growing up 🙂
Flavoring- Traditionally these nankhatai cookies are flavored with cardamom and nutmeg. Here I have used generous quantity of cardamom and teeny bit of saffron and nutmeg.
The aroma while these cookies are baking is just incredible. Thinking of that I want to bake some right now 🙂
Add-ins – You can throw some pulsed nuts like almonds, pistachios for added crunch.
There are many variations in the types of flours used and their proportion across the country. You can also make these nankhatai cookies with saffron or kesar , chocolate flavored etc.
How To Make Nankhatai Recipe
Preheat the oven at 180 C or 350 F for 15 minutes. Before you begin make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. The ghee should be semi solid state.
Take ghee and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder, nutmeg and saffron. Cream it very well until it becomes light and fluffy
Add the dry ingredients- flours and powdered pistachio. Mix gently.
Do not knead the dough by applying pressure. Just gently bring everything together.
Divide the dough into 12-15 small balls. Flatten the ball. Place some pistachios on each nankhatai cookie.
Arrange in a greased cookie tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool the nankhatais in a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Serve nankhatai with tea or coffee.
Tips For Baking Best Nan Khatai
Kneading the dough– Do not knead the dough very hardly as it will turn the cookies hard. Just bring the dough gently together for flaky nankhatai.
Do not add any liquid while kneading- Do not add any water or milk while kneading the dough. The whole dough should come together with ghee or melted butter. Depending on the quality and variety of flours you use, you may need two tablespoons more or less ghee.
Chilling the dough- Once kneaded I like to chill the dough wrapped in a parchment for 30-40 minutes. Chilling the dough solidifies the ghee or butter and prevents it from melting away too fast while baking. This way your cookies will not turn very flat.
Baking time- Do not bake nankhatai for more than 15 minutes. These cookies will not brown or turn hard on baking. After cooling for few minutes they become hard and very crispy.
Best Flour Combination For Nankhatai- I Usually make nankhatai with a mix of plain flour, besan or chickpea flour and semolina. You can replace plain flour with wheat flour.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Traditional nankhatai made of?
You can make nankhatai with various flour combinations. Traditionally these shortbread cookies are made with a mix of plain flour or all purpose flour, besan or chickpea flour, powdered sugar and ghee. Cardamom is used most commonly for flavoring.
Can I make nankhatai with only whole wheat flour?
Yes, just use 1.5 cups whole wheat flour instead of mixed flours.
How to make gluten free nankhatai?
Use any of your favorite gluten free flour blend or only besan or chickpea flour.
How to make this recipe vegan?
Use melted vegan butter instead of ghee.
Don’t we have to add baking powder or baking soda?
No, these are baked like traditional shortbread cookies with pure butter fat. However some recipes do add a pinch of baking soda or 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. I never add them.
How to make nankhatai in microwave oven?
You can make these cookies in microwave oven choosing convection mode. Preheat oven at 180 degree C and bake for 12-15 minutes.
More Cookie Recipes
Nankhatai Recipe- Indian Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup gram flour
- 2 tablespoons semolina
- 2 tablespoons pistachios coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar powdered
- 1/3 cup ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
- A pinch of salt
- Preheat oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Before you begin make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. The ghee should be solid. Take ghee and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg and saffron.
- Mix well. Whisk until light and creamy.
- To the ghee sugar mixture add the flours and powdered pistachio. Mix gently. Do not knead the dough by applying pressure. Just gently bring everything together.
- Divide the dough into 12-15 small balls. Flatten the ball and place some pistachios on each cookie.
- Arrange in a greased cookie tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container. Serve nankhatai with tea or coffee.
- You can replace wheat flour with maida.
- Do not knead the dough very hardly as it will turn the cookies hard. Just bring the dough gently together for flaky nankhatai.
- You can use butter instead of ghee. Make sure butter is soft at room temperature.
- Do not bake nan khatai for more than 15 minutes. These cookies will not brown or turn hard on baking. After cooling for few minutes they become hard and very crispy.
- These nankhatai keeps well for 15 days when stored airtight