Is it criminal to interfere with the recipe for a time-honoured classic like naan khatai? Maybe, but I will lay the blame for this transgression entirely on my 6-year old nephew. In anticipation of a visit from him, I asked what his favourite cookie was. His response: “Naan khatai… and chocolate chip”. A few days later, I had a Eureka moment – and the chocolate chip naan khatai was born.
If you have never encountered a naan khatai before, I urge you to find an Indian friend and invite yourself over for afternoon tea. These traditional Indian shortbread cookies, a familiar site at special occasions, are flavoured with cardamon and crowned with an almond. For me, naan khatai is defined by the crumbly texture that dissipates into sweet nothingness the moment you take a bite. The addition of chocolate is really a no-brainer once you consider the power couple that is dark chocolate and cardamom.
Despite the fact that I was going to mess with tradition by adding chocolate chips (or maybe because of it), I wanted to use an authentic recipe for the naan khatai – for me that means one with ghee and chickpea flour. My search led me to this recipe from Cook with Manali. The result was everything I associate with naan khatai… and then there are those cracks – a sure sign of success. This one’s a keeper!
About the chocolate – Bash up a good quality chocolate bar into pieces instead of using store-bought chips. This is a trick I learned from one of my favourite bloggers, The Kate Tin. Unlike the chips, chocolate pieces will melt into what she calls “pockets of melty gooey chocolatey bliss”. Hard to argue with that. Dark chocolate is the way to go, though I did make a small batch with milk chocolate (for my nephew).
Criminal or genius? Try it and judge for yourself.
Chocolate Chip Naan Khatai
Adapted from Cook with Manali
- 1 cup ghee, soft but not melted
- 1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup semolina
- A pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- A handful of whole almonds
- 75 g dark or milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
- Cream together the ghee and icing sugar till light and fluffy.
- Sift together the flours, semolina, cardamom and salt, add to the ghee mixture, and beat to form a soft dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.
- Add in the chocolate pieces and mix briefly, till evenly distributed in the dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with a silicon cookie mat. Grease lightly with a non-stick spray.
- Roll the dough into balls and place on the baking tray. Place an almond in the center of each ball.
- Refrigerate the tray with the unbaked cookies for another 20 minutes.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or till the edges just turn a light golden colour.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the tray. Use a spatula to gently transfer the cookies to a cooling rack (they break easily), and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.