Nan Khatai - Cardamom & Shortbread Cookies
When Rebecca asked if I might wish to do a guest post on her wonderful blog Chow and Chatter I was very flattered indeed. Her blog is full of healthy tips and recipes and the warmth and encouragement she exudes both on her site and in visiting fellow bloggers is such a blessing. My thoughts quickly turned to panic as I wondered just what could I, a simple, eclectic cook and baker, share with her many readers. Then I realized that I needed to chose a ‘dish’ that would represent what I hope my blog itself represents… food that reminds us of home, food that creates warmth and memories; that transcends cultures and continents and brings us together across the miles. I believe that this is what Rebecca also stands for…her travels and various places she has called home, her family and embracing of new things gives her that understanding that we have seen in her comments on her posts and our blogs.
Okay…so now down to business. Let me just explain why I chose this rather ‘simple’ and humble cookie. I grew up with tea and shortbread….not that I am in any way British, although there may be some connection to the ‘tradition’ through my Canadian roots. But it seemed that in the 60’s a ‘melt in your mouth’ shortbread was something to aspire to …and ladies serving tea and coffee with their fine china would invariably serve one type or another of this delectable item. The famous cornstarch and icing sugar recipe is one that I grew to love and perhaps was one of the first cookies I learned to make. I was especially pleased when as a young bride my husband requested shortbread cookies and I made them often, blushing with his praise. Still, although he too grew up with shortbread cookies, I knew I was ‘missing’ something…they were not quite like the ones he remembered having growing up in East Africa. It wasn’t until I met my MIL years later, and she gave me this wonderful cookbook of more ‘traditional’ cooking, that I realized the difference. I’d love to share this cookie recipe with you today taken from ‘A Spicy Touch” by Noorbanu Nimji…a great cookbook given to me years ago. This cookie tastes wonderful - with a hint of cardamom with the sooji or wheatlets giving it wonderful texture.
- 1 cup of butter at room temperature
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup wheatlets (sooji)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking pwd.
- ½ tsp cardamom pwd. (if you know me then you will understand that I always double my spices so I used 1 tsp.)
- 8 tbsp ghee
- Yellow food colouring or a few candied cherries
- Cream the butter and icing sugar.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
- Add the wheatlets and mix. Stir in the flour, baking powder and cardamom.
- Add ghee gradually to make a dough which is soft enough to make into balls. Make walnut-sized balls and flatter on a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. ( I like to use the bottom of my crystal glass to flatten my cookies as it leaves a sunburst design on the cookie top.)
- You may cut a cross on each cookie with a knife. Then…mix yellow food coloring with a little water and using your fingertip, dip into the colour water and make a dot on each cross. Alternatively, place 1/8th of a cut candied cherry on center of each cross and push in slightly.
- Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan only a few minutes and then remove to cooling rack. These cookies tend to brown very quickly on the bottom….as do all types of shortbreads.
Oh, I so hope you enjoy them. Thanks Rebecca….for having me over for tea and cookies.