The year has flown by right before my eyes and are we just a week away from the New Year?
How did that happen? I haven’t ticked off half of the things I planned to do and the next is already knocking.This pace scares me sometimes.Can I say ‘slow down’?
Before we get to the new year though, there have to be some cookies – for Christmas!
While most of you must be having kitchen counters overflowing with cookie jars, oven & stovetops put to overuse during this time of the year, I need a place to hide. I havent done anything except roaming around the city to see Holiday decorations (you can see pictures on my Instagram profile) and buying stuff for the house in the name of discounted shopping.We put up our first Christmas tree ever this year. All lit up and decked in red and gold ornaments, I like the warmth it brings to the house, particularly in the evenings.
It began with the neighbor asking what all cookies I m baking for the holidays. I literally wanted to run away from in front of her.
In all honesty, I havent baked anything sweet for last six months. The oven has been put to good use though – roasting vegetables, making pizzas or slow roasting meats. I scanned through the archives and this is what I baked last, in June. As much as I would like to continue this way, with the mood around, I could not keep myself from making these cookies and sharing with you all.
There is no particular story as to why I chose to make these. Frankly,this is the only recipe which I m most confident about when it comes to cookie baking.Its one of thosebaby-steps kinda recipe for me before I started full-fledged baking . One of my aunt’s friend handed over it to her at school, she tried it, everybody at home liked it and then it remained forever in the family.
The versions of Nan Khatai available in India are as many as the number of states. It’s mostly the type of flour which differentiates them. Some recipes use only all-purpose flour, some use semolina or whole wheat flour, others chickpea flour and few others a mix of all. This recipe falls into the last category.
Currently, these are a favorite treats in the house. I like the dominant flavor of chickpea flour in here – when combined and slow baked with ghee & sugar, it is divine.Nutty & crumbly with hints of saffron & cardamom – they are quite addictive with a cup of masala chai or some unsweetened warm milk.
Happy Holidays Everyone & Wishing all of you a Wonder New Year!
Makes about 28-30 cookies
- 1 cup ghee, softened but not melted (substitute with unsalted butter)
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (or castor sugar, do not use granulated sugar)
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 cup mota besan or ladoo besan (coarse chickpea flour,available in indian stores)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sooji (fine semolina)
- pinch of salt
- Sliced almonds or any nuts of choice
- You could use regular chickpea flour available in grocery stores in this recipe. I find that using coarse ground chickpea flour gives a far better texture to the cookies.
In a large bowl, using a spatula gently cream ghee and sugar till smooth. Mix in the saffron and cardamom powder. Set aside.
Sift besan, flour, sooji & salt.
Add the sifted flours to the ghee-sugar mix in parts stirring continuously till you get a soft dough.The dough will be sticky. Wrap up the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Once firm, take our the dough and knead it for 3-4 minutes. From the heat of the palms, the ghee will melt, refrigerate the dough again after kneading.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment.
Take out the refrigerated dough. Pinch equal portions of the dough. Roll each portion between your palms to make smooth balls with no cracks. Line the balls on the cookie sheet with at least 2″ space between them. Lightly press some sliced almonds on top of each ball.
Refrigerate again for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 300F.
Bake on the middle rack for 18-22 minutes watching closely. The cookies should not change color. When you see that the bottoms begin to brown lightly, remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet itself for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack later and let cool completely.
Store in an air tight container at room temperature for upto 2 weeks.
Enjoy & Take Care!