Crispy exterior with a soft interior made with ghee, thandai masala, sugar, and a little bit of milk. Nankhatai is a traditional Indian cookie similar in texture to shortbread. There are many variations of flavors and flours used based on where in India you are eating this delicious cookie.
I started making Nankhatai last year as an experiment. If you’ve noticed from my recipes, most of my Indian desserts are fusion rather than the classics. So when I decided I wanted to make Nankhatai, I knew I wanted to keep the traditional flavors even though I would present it as bars rather than the round cookies they normally are.
Originally, I used egg in my recipe which made the bars delicious, soft, and less crumbly. That also took away from the tradition of Indian desserts which doesn’t use egg at all. So back to the drawing board I went.
After months of playing around with this recipe, I have found the balance of my ingredients and the flavors I wanted to use. This year, the theme in most of my Desi desserts has been Thandai Masala. I don’t know if it’s the earthy nuts, the floral taste of the rose petals, or the aromatic saffron, but something about that masala mix has me hooked. So how could I not incorporate it into my Diwali special?
As for the decoration? I asked my friend who is a sugar cookie whisperer to please make me some icing so I can play around with it. You can absolutely make the bars with or without the icing. Since I was decorating the slab of Nankhatai during festival season, I decided to try my hand at a mehndi/henna design. Honestly, you can design however you wish or not at all. The bars taste amazing regardless!
Want more ideas for Diwali treats? Check out some of my favorites:
Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Pear Halwa Cake
- 1 c whole wheat flour
- 3/4 c chickpea flour or besan
- 1/4 c semolina or sooji
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c Thandai Masala Recipe
- 3/4 c ghee in semi solid form
- 1/4 c milk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line an 8x8 cake pan with parchment paper and grease it.
- In a medium bowl, Sift the whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, and semolina. Add in the baking powder, salt, and thandai masala. Mix well.
- In a large bowl, cream together ghee and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in the milk and almond extract. Mix well to combine.
- Add in the dry ingredients and mix well until dough has formed. It will be slightly wet but that is ok.
- Transfer dough to cake pan and press firmly into pan. Smooth out the top and bake for 30-33 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely for a couple of hours.
- Using a serrated knife, slice into 16 equal parts.
- Store in airtight container.
2 thoughts on “Nankhatai Bars”
This was incredibly delicious!
Rating: 5 / 5
I’m so happy you enjoyed it!