I am in Mexico right now with the two best people of my life. When you wake up every morning to beauty like this then you sort of want to just stay in the moment and not come out of it. That’s what’s happening with me and so my blog and the whole blogging thing has taken a back seat for now. Hope you will pardon me for that.
Mexico is a beautiful country. So vibrant and colorful on one hand and serene and peaceful on the other. Sitting by the pool, overlooking the ocean and listening to bursting waves while sipping on hot tea has been our daily morning ritual lately. Life is a lot slower here, no one’s running after anything and people take time to know each other. I have been soaking it all in as much as I can in a few short days.
I will tell you all about it once I am back home but today I am mainly here to wish all you fabulous people a very happy holidays! All set to welcome Santa? Making cookies and baking cakes while humming Christmas carols playing in the background? I and the little one baked some cookies too before leaving home which Food Network UK very kindly featured on their website along with a quick interview of yours truly! You can check in out here.
These are Indian shortbread cookies called Nankhatai. Nankhatai is a simple eggless cookie with butter, flour and sugar as the main ingredients. Some spice is added to give the cookies an extra zing. I used a mixture of besan (gram flour), all purpose flour and semolina (cream of wheat) as base. Black pepper adds warmth to these sweet buttery cookies and a little bit of fruity jam or almond on top gives these thumbprint cookies their last finishing touch. You can use any kind of nut or jam of choice. This holiday season treat Santa with some of these nankhatais and a warm glass of milk or chai if he prefers that!
Ingredients: Yields 30-35 cookies. I made 16 cookies with almonds and 16 thumb print jam cookies.
2 1/2 cups besan (gram flour)
1 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature/softened)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp bakingpowder
16-18 halved almonds
2 tbsp any fruit jam
Whisk together softened butter and sugar. Beat until its light and pale yellow in colour. Set aside.
In a separate bowl sift together all the flours and also salt, pepper and baking powder. Mix flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture, little at a time until everything is mixed well together to form soft dough. Knead the dough for a couple minutes to form a smooth big ball. If it’s a little sticky, wrap it in a cling film and refrigerate for about half an hour.
After about half hour take the dough out of the refrigerator and knead again for a couple minutes. The warmth of your hands will soften the butter in the dough slightly.
Now divide the dough into equal parts. With this measurement it should make about 30-35 cookies.
Make smooth balls out of each portion. Because of the butter, the cookies flatten and crack when baked so make sure your dough balls are smooth with no cracks in order to make pretty cookies.
Place dough balls on a lined cookie sheet and bake then at 350deg. F for 20-22 minutes or until the bottom of cookies are golden in color.
Enjoy warm cookies with chai or you can also store them in air tight containers for several weeks.
Happy Holidays everyone! Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!