Whole Wheat Cardamom Nankhatais- The Indian Cookie

When my blogging buddy Ria visited me a few months ago, she brought me these wonderful cardamom scented, buttery, crunchy cookies. T and I fought each other for the last ones and I have been longing for them ever since.
Ria finally posted these on her site yesterday and I had to bake them immediately! 
I ate a little of the yummy cookie dough while I was mixing it in a bowl with a fork. I breathed in the cardamom aromas that filled my kitchen while they were baking. I popped one still hot into my mouth straight out of the oven- It burned my mouth but it was sooo good! Finally when they had cooled T and I began competing for them all over again.
Nankhatais are one of the few kinds of Indian cookies. They are similar to the American Pecan Sandies. They are said to have originated in Surat, where they were influenced by the butter biscuits of the Dutch, who had set up trading posts there.
They are usually made with the refined flour maida or whole wheat flour or atta used to make the flat bread rotis and clarified butter or ghee which is used a lot in Indian cooking.
These cookies are made with wholewheat flour which gives them a nutty flavour enhanced by the addition of the traditional chopped almonds. 
Ok the history lesson is done and now on to the simple (so easy I LOVE it!) recipe

Whole-wheat eggless Nankhatais
Recipe source: Manjulas kitchen from Rias blog here
  • 1 cup (150 grams or 4.23 oz) Wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 cup fine granulated sugar (If you are in India or other places where granulated sugar is usually not very fine, please use powdered sugar instead.Take a little less than 1/2 cup regular sugar and powder it in a mixie.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder ( I ground about a dozen cardamom pods with the skin removed in my food processor/mixie)
  • 1/4 cup chopped/slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature so it is slightly squishy ( If your butter is very hard and you don't want to wait, simply cut it into small pieces or grate it and keep it on a plate- will soften much faster) 
  • About 2 tbsp milk or as needed (you may not need this at all)
Pre-heat the oven to 360F and position the rack in the center.
In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add the soft butter to the dry ingredients and mix with your fingertips.
If can form a soft dough, avoid adding the milk, if not add milk and form a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 24. ( I used a half tablespoon measuring spoon to portion the dough equally) 

Form them into smooth balls.
Flatten them slightly and place them on an ungreased cookie/baking tray They should be about 1/2 and inch thick. ( I flattened them a little more to resemble the usual cookies and so that they would be crisper, but the traditional Nankhatai shape is a plump round-almost ball shape) 

Top with some chopped nuts if you like, pressing them into place.
Bake for 15-18 mins or until they are lightly golden brown in colour.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely, by then the cookies will firm up.
Store in airtight containers. They should stay good for a couple of weeks although it will be really hard to resist finishing them off.

Notes: They are on the sweeter side- just the way I like them! but if you want you can reduce the sugar by a tablespoon. They are crisp and crunchy. If you like them soft and chewy like T does, simply microwave them for about 10 seconds and they will be warm and stick to your teeth chewy.
They are best friends with a cup of Masala Chai or Earl Grey and a good book. 

These cookies were part of the sweet punch baking group and if you want to get to know awesome recipes like this join the group- I did! 


  1. Very colorful and so inviting cookies...

  2. What a perfect looking nankhatai !!!

  3. Hey Rose, so glad you baked it! :) It looks good :)

    Btw,your post footer says 'Posted by Ria & Magpie'. I think there is something wrong :)

  4. So you also baked it:):).... Perfectly baked cookies Rose!

  5. Thanks girls! Ria thanks for the recipe again and I'll fix the footer- was meant for the KK group blog!
    Swapna yours look gorgeous! Just checked them out! Good you were brave to try with less butter- will also try that some time when I'm feeling guilty! Right now I'm loving the rich buttery taste!

  6. looks super good magpie, it looks alluring!

  7. mmm . . . these look fabulous! Healthy and sophisticated at the same time. I will try these dairy free and see how it goes.

  8. Oh Laura I would love to try it with Earth balance/smart balance too.Have some dairy allergic kids I would love to bake these for. Do let me know how they turn out!

  9. I tried them with the stick Earth Balance and it gave a bit of an off flavor--I would try again with the tub margarine (I have had more luck with the tub Earth Balance), or with oil. The cardamom gives the cookies such a nice flavor.

  10. Oh no, I hope you have better luck with the tub margarine too :(
    I have quite a few vegan recipes that I have tried here if you'd like:


  11. Your photos are so inviting that we're adding it to our list of recipes to try. Thanks.

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