When you show up to your holiday cookie exchange with these Cardamom Shortbread Cookies, aka Indian Nankhatai, everyone will be impressed with your international culinary skills.
Growing up, my mom refused to buy cookies from our local grocery store. Every trip would end with me eyeing those packages of store-bought cookies, hoping that today would be the day that I get to try a pecan sandy. It eventually happened, but what I learned that day was that my mom makes way better cookies! She only had one cookie recipe in her repertoire, but let me tell you, it was the best!
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies – Indian Nankhatai
Nankhatai are shortbread cookies made with ghee, also known as clarified butter. They originate from the state of Gujarati in India where I’m from! Nankhatai means “bread biscuit” and is a product of the Dutch-Indian colonization. A Dutch bakery was set up to cater to the needs of the Dutch colonists and eventually, Indian spices found their way into the baked goods. Nowadays, Nankhatai is as Indian as it gets!
You can use butter instead of ghee in these Cardamom Shortbread Cookies if you don’t have any on hand. Just melt some butter and let it come to room temperature before using it. You still want it in a liquid-like state. I used cake flour in my recipe because it’s a low protein flour which gives you a nice crumbly texture. You can also use chickpea flour instead if you want this to be gluten-free!
These Cardamom Shortbread Cookies go best with a hot cup of masala chai. The majority of my mornings growing up consisted of figuring out the perfect amount of time my Nankhatai needed to be dipped in my chai before it fell apart. It’s a special memory for me and I hope you try this recipe!
- 1 tsp milk, warm
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup ghee
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp yogurt
- 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp semolina flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bloom saffron by adding it to warm milk and set aside.
- Cream ghee and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Mix in cardamom and nutmeg, whisk for 1 minute.
- Add baking soda, salt, yogurt, and saffron milk. Mix well.
- Sift in the semolina and cake flours. Use a spatula to bring the dough together.
- Knead it for a few seconds and then pat it into a smooth ball.
- Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Place each cookie dough ball 2 inches apart.
- Use the bottom of a cup (that's been greased) to gently press each dough ball so that it's flat.
- Press chopped pistachios into the middle of each cookie.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Home Chef Tip: Replace cardamom with cinnamon or vanilla if you don't have any cardamom on hand!
We hope you love these Cardamom Shortbread Cookies from SoFabFood Home Chef, Hetal from Milk & Cardamom, as much as we do. If you enjoyed these delightful Nankhatai, be sure to visit our Dessert section for more sweet treats. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!