Nankhatai can be called as Indian shortbread cookies or biscuits. They are made with flour, sugar and ghee or butter. There are many variations of Nankhatai, some recipes use half suji” or semolina and half flour.
Nankhatai is an Indian cookie which is a favorite in most Indo-Mauritian families . They are usually made for most celebrations such as Diwali & Christmas. In Mauritius they are even served individually wrapped as wedding cakes in Indian weddings.
In this recipe I have used Sweet Mascapone cream cheese to sandwich the nankathai, but this is optional as nankathai is delicious on its own without any fillings.
all purpose flour
ghee or butter at room temperature
cardamom powder or grated nutmeg
Few sliced almonds and sesame seeds for garnishing
1- 2 teaspoons
milk or water for kneading, optional and if required
Macapone small tub
light or dark Muscavado Sugar – I have used Muscavado sugar from Mauritius, but you can any or any other type.
Cream the ghee and castor sugar with a hand held blender or in a food processor until light, smooth and creamy.
Add the dry ingredients - flour, semolina, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon mix well to incorporate all the ingredients.
Using your hand gently knead to a smooth dough.
Pinch medium sized balls from the dough roll them evenly in your palms.
Slightly flatten them, using your thumb press slight in the middle forming a little dent in the middle.
Press in the sliced almonds and sesame on the top slightly.
You can also make some criss cross designs on the Nankhatai with a fork or toothpick.
Keep some space between them as they expand while baking.
Bake the Nankhatai in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes till light golden.
While the Nankathai are baking prepare the sweet cheese filing, put the cheese, sugar in a small bowl, using a sharp knife cut he vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape the smooth vanilla seeds, add to the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly to a smooth paste. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar if desired.
Remove the Nankathai from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool.
When cool, sandwich the nankathai with the sweet cheese filing.
Without the cream cheese, Nankathai will keep for at least 2 weeks in an airtight container.
As the temperatures vary in different oven models, keep an eye while baking. If the Nankhatais are not baked enough after 20-25 minutes bake them for few more minutes.