Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nankhatai (Indian Spiced Cookies) for the Holidays and a Food Network UK Feature

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I have not been very good at posting anything on this space lately. And your endless emails and messages have made it clear that you are not exactly liking it. After months of crazy, busy schedule, Abhishek got a few weeks off from school and work, so without missing a moment we immediately got into party mode. We are trying to spend as much family time as possible. Doing things that we were waiting to do together for months like taking a long walk, going to the park, watching a late night movie and house hunting and a vacation thrown into the mix.



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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Method:
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.

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Happy Holidays everyone! Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frog's Leap

A few weeks back a very dear friend of mine was visiting California. With another lovely friend of ours we went for a day trip to Napa. It was a beautiful day, everything was perfect and we together had a fabulous time but a part of me was sulking through out the day. Why? Because I forgot to bring my camera with me and if you are a blogger then you know that in a blogger's world that is a crime! Then my friend decides to take us to a winery which turned out to be THE most gorgeous and peaceful place I had been to in a while. I sulked more!
Going back to Frog's Leap again went straight to the top on my to-do list. That's what we did this Thanksgiving. We took a trip to Napa with family and some close friends. This time I slept with my camera a night before we were supposed to go, making sure I don't commit the same "crime" again. So sharing some photos I took at Frog's Leap Winery.

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And finally this cute little guy who I was seriously hoping not to miss and I didn't. He was still there lounging on his chair by the fireplace. This photograph makes me so sleepy.
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Oh, and I did not forget about the giveaway. The winner is Lynn. Congratulations!
Please send me an email with your address and your choice of one of Martha Stewart Professional Cookware item.
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