Cookie Baking Marathon

Delicate rolled cookies seem like fun to make, decorate, and enjoy during the holiday season. However, I’ve never tried my hand at them! The cookies I bake are usually easy ones, like snowball cookies or these new ones I recently developed — Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai cookies!

December kicks off the month-long cookie-baking marathon here in the US! It’s the holiday season—a perfect time to bake homemade cookies, like these quick and easy Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai. They are perfect for Santa and also for sharing with friends, family, or indulge in them yourself. They also make for a lovely dessert during holiday dinners or cute little Valentines for your loved ones. But you can make them all year round! They’re a delightful snack paired with a cup of coffee or dessert wine at any time of the year.

Thumbprint Cookies

I think the holidays are a perfect excuse to treat yourself to scrumptious baked treats like cakes or cookies. This year, I decided to try my hand at Thumbprint cookies. They are classic Swedish cookies, called Hallongrotta, and are popularly known as Thumbprint cookies here in the US.

Thumbprint cookies are essentially shortbread cookies shaped into discs and have a little indentation in the center that’s made using your thumb or a round measuring spoon. You’ll find them in two primary flavors: vanilla or chocolate. I prefer the rich depth of flavor that the cookies get from cocoa powder added to the dough. After they come out of the oven, they are then filled with delicious options like jam, cream cheese, chocolate ganache, Hershey Kisses, Nutella, or many other creative choices! I made mine filled with crushed pistachios and dried rose petals, inspired by Indian Mithai flavors.

Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai

The Indian Nankhatai

Nankhatai are Indian-style shortbread cookies, originating from the western state of Gujarat. Unlike the popular buttery shortbread cookies, nankhatai are unquestionably eggless. Nankhatai biscuits are often made with whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Additionally, key ingredients include ghee (as opposed to butter), chickpea flour (for a soft texture), and semolina (making them flakey). They are typically spiced with cardamom and saffron, topped with pistachios or almonds. Crispy and flaky on the outside, they melt in your mouth, remaining soft on the inside. These cookies are cherished all over the country as a favorite tea-time snack!

The humble Nankhatai, Elevated

Through this new cookie recipe, it is my humble effort to elevate the beloved Indian biscuit that I grew up eating and often bake at home. For my recipe, I started with my go-to Nankhatai recipe and tweaked it to incorporate the rich chocolate flavor that I love for thumbprint cookies. I also halved the recipe to make a small batch, yielding only 9 cookies, but you can easily double or triple it to make larger batches.

Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai

Just like the Nankhatai cookies are topped with sliced or crushed pistachios, I did the same, but instead of placing them in slits on top, I created an indent with my thumb! To make them holiday-ready, I added some crushed dried petals along with the crushed pistachios.

My Secret Ingredient

Given my love for chocolate-flavored thumbprint cookies, I wanted my cookie dough recipe to have a rich, chocolate flavor. I was originally planning to use all the ingredients for nankhatai and simply add cocoa powder into the mix, but then I remembered the jar of Chocolate Ghee sitting in my pantry and decided to go for it instead.

The texture of the chocolate ghee is exactly like Nutella (which means that you can absolutely substitute with it in my recipe). Chocti is also less sweet since it’s made with date syrup as a sweetener. It worked wonderfully in my recipe! The cookies turned out soft, dense, slightly crinkled along the edges, not too sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai

Give my newly crafted cookie recipe a try this holiday season. I have put together a detailed video and outlined step-by-step instructions below so you can whip up my signature concoction in your kitchen.

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Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai

Chocolate Thumbprint Nankhatai


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: 9 cookies 1x

Description

Easy to bake chocolate flavored eggless cookies, blending the Swedish Thumbprint cookies and the Indian Nankhatai biscuits.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Cookie Dough

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (see Variations)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 tbsp semolina (soorji/rava)
  • 2 tbsp ultrafine sugar (baker’s or caster sugar) (see FAQs & Notes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Ghee, divided (see FAQs & Notes + Variations)

Topping

  • 2 tbsp raw pistachios, crushed or chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals, crushed (optional)

Instructions

See step-by-step photos below.

  • Preheat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C).
  • Place all the ingredients for the Cookie Dough, except the Chocolate Ghee in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together until well mixed. 
  • Add half the amount of Chocolate Ghee, ¼ cup to the dry mixture in the bowl. Using a spatula, incorporate the Chocolate Ghee into the dry mixture, as much as possible.
  • Add the remaining ¼ cup of Chocolate Ghee. Using the spatula, break the large lunp into smaller pieces. 
  • Using your hand, knead the ingredients together until it forms a soft dough.
  • Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.
  • Divide it into 9 equal parts.
  • Roll each piece between your palms to form round balls.
  • Flatten the dough ball slightly with both your thumbs into a disc, while making an indentation in the center.
  • Place the shaped cookie dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and press the toppings into the indentation.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes.
  • Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately (see FAQs & Notes for storage instructions).

Keywords: Baking Recipes, Chocolate Desserts

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Preheat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C).

Step: 2

Place all the ingredients for the Cookie Dough, except the Chocolate Ghee in a medium mixing bowl.

Step: 3

Whisk together until well mixed.

Step: 4

Add half the amount of Chocolate Ghee, ¼ cup to the dry mixture in the bowl.

Step: 5

Using a spatula, incorporate the Chocolate Ghee into the dry mixture, as much as possible.

Step: 6

Add the remaining ¼ cup of Chocolate Ghee.

Step: 7

Using the spatula, break the large lump into smaller pieces.

Step: 8

Using your hand, knead the ingredients together.

Step: 9

Continue kneading till you form a soft dough.

Step: 10

Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

Step: 11

Divide it into 9 equal parts.

Step: 12

Roll each piece between your palms to form round balls.

Step: 13

Flatten the dough ball slightly with both your thumbs into a disc, while making an indentation in the center.

Step: 14

Place the shaped cookie dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and press the toppings into the indentation.

Step: 15

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes.

Step: 16

Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes.

Step: 17

Serve immediately (see FAQs & Notes for storage instructions).

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Like your treats to be sweeter?

Since the Chocolate Ghee is already sweet, the recipe calls for only 2 tbsp of sugar but if you like your sweets to be sweeter, you can add an additional tablespoon or two.

Where to find Chocolate Ghee?

Chocolate Ghee is available in a few different grocery stores in the US. You can also find it on Amazon. You can substitute it with widely available Nutella, if you can’t find it.

How to store the cookies?

Store the cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, in a cool, dry place for up to 5 days.

Recipe Variations

You can substitute all purpose flour with whole wheat flour or Indian whole wheat Atta.

Instead of Chocolate Ghee, you can substitute with a cocoa & ghee paste made by whisking together ¼ cup regular, plain ghee and ¼ cup cocoa powder.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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