Nankhatai | Baking | Childhood Memories



Nankhatai – the Indian Cookie which most of us, living in this part of the world have grown up on !!
I have some amazing memories of enjoying nankhatais with my grandfather. In our house he was the one who was so so fond of these lovely cookies, and had introduced me to them. White crumbly texture, the richness of the cardamom flavour and the aroma of desi ghee (clarified butter)…oh they make for the perfect cookie!! 



Have tried my hands, a couple of times at making nankhatais, but I was never satisfied. Either it was too sweet or the texture was not crumbly enough !! Finally I’ve found the perfect recipe for the Nankhatai. They look as good as they taste, exactly they way they used to when I was a little kid !
The recipe is courtesy Aromatic Essence.



Nankhatais are shortbread biscuits popular both in India as well as Pakistan. 
On searching the net, Wiki tell me, Nankhatai is believed to have originated in Surat in the 16th century, the time when Dutch and Indians were the important spice traders. A Dutch couple set up a bakery in Surat to meet the needs of local Dutch residents. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to an Iranian. The locals disliked the bakery biscuits and to save his business he started selling dried bread at low prices. It became so popular that he started drying the bread before selling it. With time, his experimentation with bread ultimately gave birth to Nankhatai.



Nankhatai


Ingredients

2 cups All purpose flour

1 cup Semolina (Sooji)

½ cup Chickpea flour (Besan)

1 cup Clarified butter (Ghee)

1 ½ cup powdered Sugar

Elaichi (cardamom) powder to garnish

Direction
1. In a mixing bowl, mix all purpose flour, semolina, chickpea flour and sugar together.
2. Add ghee, little at a time, to the dry mixture and try to knead the dough. Do not overwork with it otherwise the nankhatais will not be flaky. You need to bring the flour together like we do for the pastry dough. Knead just enough to bring it together.
3. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
4. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with butter paper.
5. Make small flat balls and place on baking sheet. Using a knife, cut a cross in the middle of each, press some cardamom powder. Rest the cookies in the refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes. In the meanwhile preheat the oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
5. Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes (depending on the oven)

6. Completely cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container.



Happy baking !!

Homemade Cookies | Whole Wheat Cookies | Lemon Cookies

“A Balanced Diet is a Cookie in Each Hand…”




Cookies were always a mind-block for me. Even though I’ve been baking for so many years now, but I never got around baking a cookie, for no particular reason. On thinking aloud, maybe I felt that it was not as satisfying as baking a cake… but how wrong was I !!
Off and on my father would encourage me to bake biscuits but with no results whatsoever, until one day he gave me an ultimatum to bake cookies :-)).


That weekend I tried my hands on my first cookies and I fell in love with baking all over again !! 
Baking cookies is such a joy, especially when you see so many cookies turning out from that little dough, and in no time. 
A whole new world of recipes opened up and there was no stopping me. Now I feel they are far simpler than cakes and the joy that a cookie brings no cake can 🙂
Ever since my new ‘cookie love’, Tea Parties are my favourite kind of parties to host these days :-).

Here I share my first set of cookies I baked.  2 recipes back to back.
There will be more coming up and sooon……


Whole Wheat Cookies ( Eggless)


Ingredients


Wheat Flour 1 cup

Unsalted butter 1 tbsp

Salt ¼ tsp

Sugar 3-4 tbsp

Cardamom Powder  ½ -1 tsp

Baking Powder ½ tsp

Directions
1. Take a mixing bowl, add wheat flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, cardamom powder and mix well.

2. Then add unsalted melted butter and mix well.

3. Now using water or milk knead it into a dough. Neither too soft nor too tight.

4. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and keep aside for 10 minutes.

5. Pre heat oven to 425 f or 220 C.

6. Dust the counter top with a little powdered sugar and roll the dough into a thin layer. Using a cookie cutter of your desired shape, cut into a biscuits and arrange them on a greased baking tray.

7. Prick the biscuits with fork or knife  to prevent puff up.

8. Bake it for 12-15 minutes or it turn to crisp and light brown.

9. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.





Lemon Cookies





Ingredients


275g. flour

125g butter (at room temperature)

1 egg

80g brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder 

Zest and Juice of 1 lemon


Directions

1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.

2. Sift the flour along with the baking powder.

3. Beat egg and sugar. Once well incorporated, add the lemon juice and the zest.

4. Now add the butter and keep whipping until the mixture looks pale and creamy.

5. Add the sifted flour to the butter-egg mixture and knead into a smooth dough.

6. Wrap this dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.

7. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2 cm thickness and cutout cookies with the desired shape of cookie cutter.

8. Bake in a 180 C preheated oven.

9. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.



Note: Do not bake cookies for more than 15 minutes, unless specified. Even they look a little under done or feel soft on touch, its okay, they will firm up and become crisp as they cool down.


Happy Baking !!


Cheese ‘n’ Chives Scones – The Daring Baker’s January 2012 Challenge !!

What better way to start your New Year baking challenges than baking scones. The quick but tricky savory perfect Evening Tea accompaniment. Though my scones were ready on time, the post got delayed by a day….but better late than never !!
So many times I’ve come across Scone recipes in my baking books but somehow they always took the back burner and I never had the chance to try my hand on these wonderful light puffy cookies !!??? Bread !!??? Well I’d say a distant cousin of the dinner roll…..only easier, more versatile !!
Though traditionally they are a great pair with your cuppa chai but I think they’ll do great even with soups on a cold winter evening !! Wow !!

They are simple and quick…..once you get the hang of it…it will always be your savior when you have unexpected guests !! Total time taken was 25 minutes (including baking time).

I’m glad that Daring Bakers’ once again motivated me to break my baking mind blocks and move away from cakes to newer territories.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host…. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (aka biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchen !!

The original scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle (or girdle, in Scots), then cut into triangle-like quadrants for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the quadrants scones
When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today. Modern scones are widely available in British and Irish bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets.  

The baking of scones at home is often closely tied to heritage baking. They tend to be made from family recipes rather than recipe books, since it is often a family member who holds the “best” and most-treasured recipe.




Cheese ‘n’ Chives Scones
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled
Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
½ tsp of Baking Soda
½ tsp Sifted Mustard Powder
¼ tsp sifted Cayenne Pepper
½ cup (60 g) grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsps Finely chopped Chives

¼ tsp (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tbsps (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
Approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
Optional 1 tbsp milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.) Addthe sifted baking soda, mustard powder, cayenne peppers and chives.
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.
You could serve them with a cream cheese dip or butter or any relish of your choice !!
Happy Baking !!