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.
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
time – 45 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook
servings – makes about 20 – 25 cookies
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- place the dough in the fridge for about 20 – 30 minutes to let the ghee firm up again.
- preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- lay out a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle a little bit of cocoa powder onto the parchment.
- remove the dough disc from the fridge, unwrap from saran wrap, and place onto cocoa covered parchment paper.
- 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.
- using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out cookies and place onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
- 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.
- remove cookies from oven and let cool.
- while the cookies cool, place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until melted and smooth.
- using a piping bag or plastic ziploc version, spoon the melted chocolate into the bag. cut a small corner of the bag to pipe.
- pipe chocolate into desired designs onto the cookies. add sprinkles. let the chocolate set and serve up. enjoy!