Lemony Pistachio Shortbread or Nankhatai – A Crumbly Christmas Cookie
“And please make it 100 plus cookies’ added hubby dear hurriedly. “We have been browsing loads of scrumptious recipes on your wife’s blog for long but nothing has come to us, is she really making all those that we see in the pictures, sir?” was the query from one of the co-workers from his office which made me go for this marathon baking session. When your reputation as a food blogger is at stake numbers hardly matter 🙂
After pondering over the quality vs quantity of the numerous recipes I had in mind, I zeroed upon these Lemony Shortbread. These cookies are quite simple to bake and can be easily transformed into exotic treats with very little efforts & variations, and stays good for many days so that you can make them ahead of time.
These shortbreads or Nankhatai as we call them in India are buttery and melt-in-mouth crumbly cookies. The recipe is quite simple with just three main ingredients to go in it, flour, butter and sugar with all the three in almost equal proportion. I added Pistachio powder in the cookie dough and a few drops of lemon extract which gave a wonderful nutty taste with a delightful citrus flavor to these shortbreads.
I normally use the standard proportion of equal quantity of flour, sugar and butter ratio for making crisp & crumbly Nankhatai. But this time I added a tbsp. yogurt to the dough which in turn helped me reduce my butter in the cookies. And I did not find a big change either in the texture or the taste of the cookies.
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup semolina
- ¼ cup fine Pistachio powder
- ¾ cup or little less butter/ghee
- 1 tbsp. yogurt/curd
- 1 tbsp. coarse pistachio powder to garnish
- A few saffron strands (optional)
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- A few drops of lemon extract or ¼ tsp. lemon zest
Method; Preheat the oven to 180°C for 10 minutes.
Add flour, semolina and pistachio powder in a large vessel and mix well.
Take another vessel and add butter/ghee, powder sugar, baking powder and yogurt in it. Whisk all the ingredients for 10 minutes till the mixture is light and fluffy.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry flour mix, add lemon extract or lemon zest, saffron strands if using and knead all into smooth and soft dough.
Take out small piece of dough and roll it into small balls, flatten it slightly and press a little of coarsely ground pistachio powder in the center.
Make all the cookies in the similar way and arrange them in a baking tray leaving a little gap between each cookie.
Bake the lemony shortbread at 180°C for about 15 minutes or till the sides start to turn golden. These goodies will be mostly white in color when fully baked.
Pack these Lemony shortbread in decorative boxes for a wonderful gift to your friends and family. I have reached half way through my cookie marathon, wish me luck to complete the task. My Christmas cakes are in the oven and will probably post the recipe with the celebration at a friends’ house in a couple of days 🙂
Happy festive greetings, have a fun filled merry Christmas to all!
- If you wish to skip the yogurt in the recipe, increase the butter in it to form a soft dough.
- While rolling the cookies you will find lots of cracks in it, ignore it if it does not hamper the baking process and retain the shape.
- If you wish to make saffron Nankhatai, just dissolve a few strands of saffron in warm milk and add it to the dough.
- Try a variation of orange Nankhatai using orange extract or orange zest.
- Chickpea flour is also added to the flour mix to make Nankhatai, replace semolina with chickpea flour (besan).
- These cookies stay good for many days and make a perfect gift option.