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




jammy nut butter thumb print cookies

These nut butter jammy cookies are gluten free and vegan sweet treats!

Happy week of Valentine’s, y’all!

We celebrated on Friday night with the perfect Galentine’s bash – a night of chocolates, popcorn, so many salty snacks (specifically those rye chips because those are my JAM!), a cheese and cracker spread, many wine bottles, coffee, and night of great conversation to celebrate female friendship. Make sure you tell your lady friends how much you appreciate them this week!

Another way to celebrate Valentine’s? COOKIES. I made so many cookies this last week it was kinda crazy, but I also ate a couple salads so that basically cancels all those cookies out, right? 

Jammy Nut Butter Cookies  jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies

these jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies are the perfect sweet treats

When it comes to cookies I definitely play favorites. Don’t give me anything with nuts or raisins in it, the dough should preferably be chocolate or the cookie should contain chocolate – M&Ms, white chocolate, mini chocolate chips, etc. I also might have a slight obsession with Linzer cookies. I typically think of Linzer cookies as holiday treats, so a simpler rest of the year cookie is a thumbprint cookie with a big dab of jam. When it comes to jam, I have high standards. I really believe that jam should bring out the flavors of the season and that you should be able to taste the fruit. Honestly, you should be able to eat jam straight off of a spoon – that’s how good it should be. Luckily MPLS has great local vendors (can’t wait for the summer farmer’s market to come back!) and the best jam happens to be here in town too.

I used three different flavors from Serious Jam to top off my cookies and you couldn’t go wrong with any of them. The cookie base is nutty and earthy, so slightly sweet and warm jam flavors go best with them. The Salted Strawberry Jam was perfect, the Apple Brandy Butter was divine, but the Orange Curry Cranberry Butter was the bee’s knees. All the ingredients that Heidi uses in her jams are local (like local apples in that apple brandy jam!!) and in season which is why the strawberry jam literally tastes like taking a bite out of a fresh strawberry. Use all the flavors –  you can’t go wrong. Be forewarned, these cookies are NOT super sweet. So if you want a little extra sweetness add a smidge extra of the maple syrup and coconut sugar. I think the jam adds enough sweetness, so just add a little extra jam if you do want something a little sweeter. 

These nut butter cookies are a delicious sweet treat!

jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies
  1. 1/8 cup almond butter
  2. 1/8 cup peanut butter
  3. 1 tbsp ghee
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp ginger
  7. 1/8 cup maple syrup
  8. 1/2 tbsp molasses
  9. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  11. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  12. 1 tsp coconut sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the nut butters, ghee, vanilla, spices, maple syrup, and molasses to a large bowl and mix together to combine until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and combine until dough comes together, it should be smooth and come together into small dough balls.
  4. Form little dough balls of about 1 tbsp of dough and place on a lined cookie sheet. Using the end of a wooden spoon, press down on the dough balls to create an indent. Bake in oven for about 6 minutes.
  5. Take cookies out of oven and let cool, add a teaspoon and a half of jam to the cookies. Enjoy!
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