Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Almond Cookies (Eggless Nankhatai)

Cookies are a top-rated snack food, and every household, especially with kids, is bound to have a jar filled with cookies. One such type of cookie famous in India is called "Nankhatai". It can be made salty and spicy, or sweet and soft. It is best enjoyed with tea, but beleive me, these tiny tots are so tasty and mouth-watering your hand would reach out for them any time of the day! Here's a recipe for Almond Cookies or Eggless Nankhatai which I adapted from my sister-in-law's version. It does not use eggs, yet is soft and chewy. Her kids love these cookies, so I'm sure it'll be a hit with your kids too!!

2 cups All-purpose flour (Maida)
1 cup powdered sugar (or adjust to taste)
1/2 cup butter or ghee (at room temp, or melted)
2 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk powder
12-15 pieces of almonds - slit in halves, skin removed (you can even use peanuts)
4 tsp almond essence (you can use vanilla if almond is not available)
Cookie cutter (optional)

Heat the oven to 350° F. Lightly coat a large baking tray with butter and dust with all-purpose flour and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and milk powder in a mixing bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a separate bowl till it is light and fluffy. Fold in the flour mixture into this and whisk again, in the same direction until it is smooth. Finally add the almond or vanilla essence. Remember, this will not be as liquid as your cake dough. Cookie dough is supposed to be firmer so that it can easily form shapes.

Now take some oil and grease your plams. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, then flatten the dough and form a circular shape with your palms. Keep pressing the edges to form a smooth cookie. Alternately, you can use a cookie cutter or mould if you are more comfortable with it. Pinch a small almond in the center of the cookie, and add the almond or peanut into it. Make all the nankhatais in this way and arrange on the baking tray, at least 1-2 inches apart. Bake them for 10-15 mins, or until done. Do not overbake as that would make them hard and burnt!

Remove from the oven, let them cool down to room temperature, then store them in an air-tight container. You can even refrigerate them for a longer period. Just warm them in the microwave for 10 secs before serving. Savour these simple and delicious almond cookies or nankhatai as it melts in your mouth!!

More Cookie Recipes:
Peppermint and Vanilla Butter Cookies
Fat and Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies

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