chocolate holiday nankhatai cookies

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

It’s cookie swap time! Hopefully you’ve taken part in a little cookie swap already this season. Last year we had an amazing gathering of all the cookies at the office and I made these Linzer cookies which were a hit. Since I’m working and finishing out the year here in Texas, I’m missing out on the office cookie swap this year – but not to fear! I’m taking part in a sweet little Virtual Cookie Swap (catch all the deets over on Instagram too!) with some amazing bloggers. What am I bringing to the table? These Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai cookies.

So before you ask, let me explain what a nankhatai is. Nankhatai biscuits originated in the middle east at some point in the 16th century. Based on all my research on the exact origins, there seems to be some correlation between the Dutch spice traders who were in the area at the time and their bakery’s then being utilized by the locals that somehow created these cookies. Definitely not the most scientific history right there, but it’s what I’ve got unless I go and deep dive into the history books. The cookies are made from a base of ghee and flours, maybe some spices, and then baked up to create a crumbly and buttery biscuit. They’re kind of similar in texture to those butter cookies that you get in those aluminum tins this time of year? Those were the best right? My favorite was the swirly circle one with a whole in the middle.

In case you didn’t know, my grandmother recently moved to the US to live with my parents here in Texas. It’s been really cool to have her here and I obviously had to use it as a chance to see if my versions of my mother’s recipes stood the test of tasting like the originals, but with a slight twist. I did the same with these cookies here, and got a thumbs up from her! Obviously the chocolate was a little different, but she said the texture was spot on with her version from India. 

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know I love to change the traditional and bring it into my world with bright new flavors. That’s kind of how I came to the idea of making a chocolate version of nankhatai – and I actually really loved it. The cocoa flavor really comes through in a rich and deep way, and the added chocolate drizzle with sprinkles really makes these cookies extra festive. The cookies are tender because of the ghee, but still have some texture from the semolina and roughly crushed cardamom. Traditionally, the dough for these cookies is pretty soft and you roll them with your hands into little balls that you set on a sheet tray to bake. I really wanted a cut-out cookie version though, so four test batches later and an adjustment on the amount of dry ingredients to ghee ratio and we are here.

Not gonna lie, I might have eaten like four of these cookies in one sitting. 

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

Do you have any favorite holiday cookies? I really won’t turn too many cookie variations away, I’m just not a fan of having cookies with walnuts or almonds or any kind of nut blended in it. 

This cookie swap was extra fun because everyone who took part really came to the table with something totally different but really representative of who they are and the things they like to share. Definitely be sure to check out all of the amazing cookie recipes that are a part of this #CookieSwapParty and let me know which ones are your favorite! ::

Snowflake Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Cranberry Jam Linzer Cookies | Orange Zest and Almond Chocolate Shortbread Cookies | Snickerdoodle Mexican Wedding Cookies | Nutmeg Nutella Rice Krispies | Peanut Butter Cup Thumbprints | Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies | Gluten Free Gingerdoodle Blondies | Cinnamon Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | Strawberry and Blueberry Meringues | Sesame Almond Ginger Lace Cookies | Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | Soft Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Happy baking, y’all!

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

 

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies - an Indian Butter cookie with a cocoa twist! | This Brown Kitchen


chocolate holiday nankhatai cookies

time – 45 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook
servings – makes about 20 – 25 cookies

ingredients ::

1 cup of ghee + 2 tbsp, room temperature
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh cardamom, roughly crushed
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of AP flour
1/2 cup of semolina flour
3/4 cup of chickpea flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
white or dark chocolate for toppings
sprinkles (optional)

instructions ::

  1. in a large mixing bowl, add the 1 cup of ghee and powdered sugar. the ghee should be room temperature, NOT melted – meaning it is soft and pourable. mix with a fork until the mixture is smooth. add the crushed cardamom and salt and combine.
  2. sift all of the dry ingredients into a separate bowl. in two parts, add the dry ingredients to the ghee mixture, combining with your hands. as it starts to come together, add the additional two tablespoons of ghee to the dough and combine. the dough will be slightly firm.
  3. lay out a piece of saran wrap and form the dough into ball and place in the wrap. cover with the wrap and flatten the dough into a disc, about 2 – 3 inches thick.
  4. place the dough in the fridge for about 20 – 30 minutes to let the ghee firm up again.
  5. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. lay out a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle a little bit of cocoa powder onto the parchment.
  7. remove the dough disc from the fridge, unwrap from saran wrap, and place onto cocoa covered parchment paper.
  8. take another piece of saran wrap, and place on top of the dough to keep rolling pin from sticking to the dough. using the rolling pin, begin to roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick. the dough might separate and break while still cold, but just squish back together and continue to roll until the dough rolls out in one even layer.
  9. using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out cookies and place onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
  10. bake in oven for about 12 – 15 minutes until baked through. be careful as the bottoms of the cookies begin to over-bake at about 15 minutes.
  11. remove cookies from oven and let cool.
  12. while the cookies cool, place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until melted and smooth.
  13. using a piping bag or plastic ziploc version, spoon the melted chocolate into the bag. cut a small corner of the bag to pipe.
  14. pipe chocolate into desired designs onto the cookies. add sprinkles. let the chocolate set and serve up. enjoy!

10 best cookies to bake this christmas

December is here, let the over-the-top holiday treat baking begin!

I’m a sucker for all things holiday-treat related. I’m seriously the biggest fan of this season and the excuse to eat all the sweet treats. I mean how can anyone pass up on all the festive cakes and peppermint candies, gingerbread men and fudge squares, and all those cookies!! Last year we had a little cookie exchange at the office and it was so much fun to try everyone’s favorites and of course take home a little goodie box filled to the brim with extra cookies to take home. I made Molly Yeh’s linzer cookies and they were a smash hit (recipe link below!). This year I’m working on a cookie recipe for a little virtual cookie exchange, and I can’t wait to share the recipe with y’all. I drove my mom crazy during the recipe testing on that cookie, so here’s hoping that y’all love it enough to make all the mess I made in her kitchen worth it.

Below are 10 cookie recipes that I’m loving and are full of festive vibes – I’m currently planning on making a batch of the Almond Blossoms and Oatmeal Cookies as my Christmas movie watching snack! Let me know what your favorite seasonal treat is, hope y’all have a beautiful week!

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies from Half Baked Harvest

Linzer Cookies from My Name is Yeh

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies from Heartbeet Kitchen

Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Cozy Kitchen

Gingerbread Cookies with Salted Caramel from Donna Kay

Almond Butter Blossoms from Fit Freedom Lifestyle

Chocolate Truffle Cookies from Flourishing Foodie

Gingerbread Cutout Cookies from Canadian Living

Iced Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Ambitious Kitchen

Lavender Cashew Shortbread Cookies from Will Frolic for Food

 

 

 

an almost vegan cardamom coconut cream pie

A cardamom coconut cream pie made with cashews - a healthier version of your holiday favorite. | This Brown Kitchen

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all! While Christmas is my favorite holiday when it comes to all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with it, Thanksgiving reigns supreme in the food department. All the menu planning and table setting gets me so excited that the holidays have arrived and really just brings me so much joy. What are y’all eating this year? I’m keeping it simple this go around, sticking to the classics (i.e. mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce) while leaving room to experiment with some more fun recipes come Christmas dinner. Honestly I’m just here for the mashed potatoes. I could dive into a cloud of potatoes and be the happiest person around – I mean, what’s not to love about buttery and fluffy potatoes? Since I’m in charge of all the cooking, that also means I’m tasting and nibbling at things all day long. My brother has caught me multiple times over the years eating spoonfuls of the mash during the day before dinner. I just love them so much!!! 

A couple people have asked me how I handle the holidays and times of indulgence since I stick to a pretty healthy regimen the rest of the year. Honestly, I am such a huge #treatyoself proponent and that’s the mindset I use when it comes to holiday treats. I mean obviously don’t eat a thousand Christmas cookies and then wonder why you feel like garbage, but eat a cookie here and there, add those marshmallows to your holiday party cocoa, serve yourself a little bigger piece of pie if you want it. I really do think life is all about the balance, and one day of indulgent eating for the holiday isn’t going to ruin your life, especially if you don’t eat those things on a regular basis. Just get back on track after and understand what your body needs to feel its best. I hate feeling like I can’t have something, so when someone offers me a little holiday treat I take it, being mindful of when my body actually wants and needs something and when I need to cool it and serve up a kale salad. 

A healthier coconut cream pie made with cardamom, coconut, and cashews. | This Brown Kitchen

This lightened up cardamom and coconut cream pie is what holiday dreams are made of. | This Brown Kitchen

This lightened up cardamom and coconut cream pie is what holiday dreams are made of. | This Brown Kitchen

So speaking of balance, this is where this pie comes in. It’s a Coconut Cardamom Cream Pie with a Pecan and Coconut Crust. OMG. I’m not usually one for lightening up foods for the holidays, those recipes never turn out quite as good, but I figured I give it a shot when it comes to dessert. I feel like dessert is easier to lighten up and retain the taste and flavor than the main course. Agree or disagree???

Since I have the biggest sweet tooth in all the land, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a holiday pie that was slightly healthier so I could indulge more. LOL. And this guy was a winner on all fronts. There are a few places where you might notice the healthy swap outs, namely the crust, but it’s still a delicious and not too sweet dessert that satisfies that itch for sweetness. I love all things coconut, and there’s basically coconut in all layers going on here. The base is actually rendered with cashews, similar to a cashew cheesecake, but it’s creamier and lighter thanks to the coconunt milk that keeps it from getting too solid like some of those vegan cheesecake recipes I’ve tried. And that cardamom?? Don’t even get me started. It’s one of my favorite spices that has one of those subtle sweet and floral flavor to it and it’s just so perfect for this time of year. You could use cardamom powder here, but I think having the little broken pieces of fresh cardamom seeds make this pie so much more delicious. As for the crust, I kept it simple with shredded coconut and pecans pulsed in a food processor with a little coconut oil. You could try your hand at a graham cracker crust or a date-based crust if you are a fan of those little fruits (I am NOT – so I didn’t use dates here). This is also an ALMOST vegan pie if you left off the whipped cream, so at least your vegan friends could have a yummy pie at the holiday too. If you either left out the whipped cream (which would be sad) or subbed in coconut whipped cream – which I heard Trader Joe’s carries now?? – then you’ve got yourself a vegan coconut cream pie. You can tell it’s healthier than the original, but in a good way.

Now what are you doing? Go gather the ingredients and get to baking (I mean refrigerating? Because this is a no-bake pie!). Happy Thanksgiving!!

This lightened up cardamom and coconut cream pie is what holiday dreams are made of. | This Brown Kitchen

A cardamom coconut cream pie made with cashews - a healthier version of your holiday favorite. | This Brown Kitchen

A cardamom coconut cream pie made with cashews - a healthier version of your holiday favorite. | This Brown KitchenA cardamom coconut cream pie made with cashews - a healthier version of your holiday favorite. | This Brown Kitchen

A healthier version of your favorite coconut cream pie - made with cashews, coconut, and cardamom. | This Brown Kitchen  A healthier coconut cream pie made with cardamom, coconut, and cashews. | This Brown Kitchen


coconut cardamom cream pie

time – overnight + 30 minutes prep       yield – 1 pie

ingredients ::

for the crust –
2 cups of pecan halves
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons of coconut oil

for the filling –
2 cups of cashews, soaked overnight/at least 8 hours
1 18oz can of coconut water (I used this brand)
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
separated cream from two cans of coconut milk**
seeds from about 4 – 5 cardamom pods (about a teaspoon or so)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

directions ::

  1. measure 2 cups of cashews into a large bowl and cover with water. set aside and let sit overnight, at least 8 hours.
  2. add the coconut water and sugar into a stovetop pot and bring up to a simmer over medium-high heat. reduce the coconut water to about half the amount until it’s slightly syrupy, about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (it won’t be as syrupy as a simple syrup)
  3. while the syrup is cooking, prep the crust. In a food processor, add the pecans and coconut flakes. Pulse until they start to come together. Add the coconut oil and continue to pulse until the mix is crumble-y in texture. The mix should come together and hold slightly when pressed in your hands. Add additional coconut oil if necessary. 
  4. in a 10″ pie dish, press the crust mix into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides. Place in the fridge to set for about 15 minutes while preparing the filling.
  5. rinse the cashews and add to a high power blender with the coconut water syrup, coconut milk cream**, cardamom seeds, vanilla, and salt. blend on high until smooth, tasting and adjusting cardamom and vanilla flavor as desired.
  6. grab the pie crust from the fridge and pour the filling in. Spread the top out evenly and place in the fridge to set overnight until it holds its shape.
  7. to serve, top with whipped cream (homemade or store bought) and toasted coconut flakes. Enjoy!

**Ashlae from Oh Lady Cakes has a whole post on how to get this coconut cream from a can. Check out the post on how to get that perfect separation so you can use delicious coconut cream in your recipes.


8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

It’s pie season! Each year I ever so carefully assemble the ingredients for the pies at our family Thanksgiving. We are a mighty gathering of four people, and each year I somehow manage to make at least six pies. It makes no sense and I think it drives my mom crazy to have all that leftover pie hanging out in the fridge for days after Thanksgiving, but my brother and I use it as an excuse to eat pie for breakfast. There are worse things. I normally stick to a pretty solid rotation of pies for the holiday :: two pumpkin pies, one deep dish apple pie, and a pecan pie. Last year, I added this chocolate crust pumpkin pie to the rotation to mix things up, but this year I’m contemplating adding something a little different but still traditional. I love the idea of having another fruity pie on the table, but maybe something like a lemon cream or coconut would do good as well. I’m doing a #pieweek over on Instagram for the next few days and am tallying up votes for which additional pie I should make. Suggestions are welcome if you have a family favorite or a recipe you’ve been dying to try! Happy weekend!

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Rhubarb Raspberry Streusel Tart with Lavender Whipped Cream from Wit & Delight

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Fig and Lemon Cream Tart from Hummingbird High

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Chocolate Pecan Slab Pie from Camille Styles

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie from A Cozy Kitchen

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Gluten Free Bourbon Cherry Pie from The Bojon Gourmet

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Lemon and Earl Grey Tart with Buttermilk Chantilly from Hint of Vanilla

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie from This Brown Kitchen

8 best pie recipes to try this Thanksgiving

Hawaij Apple Pie with Cardamom Whipped Cream from My Name is Yeh