Nankhatai Bars

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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)
Chocolate Samosa
Rangoli Ladoos
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Pear Halwa Cake

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I'm Sapna, a foodie, blogger, wife, mom of two beautiful girls, and lover of spices.  I have a background in Nutrition and Dietetics, which I use to incorporate healthy options into all of my recipes.  I love traveling to new places, trying new food, and in turn, creating them in my kitchen to relive the magic. When I'm not in the kitchen, I love curling up with a good book, playing with my munchkins, running, hanging out with friends, and gardening.

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