I swear I do not know if baking is therapeutic. I seem to do these things when I have million other things going.. When I do seem to find a bit of time ,I usually reach for a book. Though the latter does not seem to be happening lately. I am falling behind on catching up with some great novels. I used to be a bibliophile? Notice the past tense? Sigh ! Maybe these will put me in the mood to catch up on some reading, movies and music.
A seemingly blah day can be perked up with these dainty Shortbread cookies or Nankhatai made with wheat? Yes of course! Made with wheat and some goodies in it as well.
These are some gorgeous melt in the mouth cookies. The only problem, they’re so melt in the mouth that you do need to hide the cookie tin away !
Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachio, with just a hint of oranges and saffron! Lovely!
The amazing bend of flavors works so much in their favor and these are truly met in the mouth. As a big plus, I used soft brown sugar . Now this provided the extra dimension and some crunch. If you can only taste this, I tell you would be absolutley taken in ! And if you do plan on selling you house this is a great smell to entice your buyers ! Fresh baked cookies.. Can it get better than this?
Shelf life : Minimal with 3 tykes in the house ( 1 week)
White whole wheat flour : 1/2 Cup
All purpose flour : 1/2 Cup
Unsalted Butter at room temperature : 1/2 Cup = 1 stick
Salt : A tiny pinch ( to enhance the flavor) ( 1/4 tsp.)
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
Fine soft brown sugar : 1/2 Cup
Saffron strands : a generous pinch, slight warmed and crushed well to be mixed
Chopped raw Pistachios : 1/8 cup
Chopped dried Cranberries ( craisins) : 1/8 cup
Pure orange extract : 1 tsp.
Zest of orange : 1 tsp. ( optional)
Garnish: ( Optional)
Raw Pistachios : fine chopped, 2 Tbsp.
Cream the butter and sugar in a big mixing bowl. Cream it well until the sugar granules are nice and invisible in it. The creaming is essential to get the texture and ensure proper baking too. In the case of brown sugar, you might still see tiny flecks of it.
In an another bowl, whisk together sifted whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, crushed saffron. Whisk it well to aerate it and to ensure even distribution of the soda and saffron.
Add the dry mix into the creamed mixture. Add the chopped nuts and cranberries as well mid way into binding the dough to ensure even distribution.
You should be able to form a soft pliable dough. Honestly you should not need any liquids to bind this dough and this will be a super soft one. ( Yep, it’s loaded with butter)
Refrigerate it for say 30 min. ( I believe this would make crisper cookies)
Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Pinch out small globes from this and make nice smooth cookie balls. Indent with the flat side of the fork to lend it your touch. Place it about 2 inches apart from each other to ensure good baking and breathing space.
Garnish with chopped nuts (Pistachios in my case ).
Pop it into oven and bake it for about 14-16 min
I baked mine for 17 min, because we love the crispy-crunchy-melt-in-your mouth kind of cookies. These have a nice caramel color. Careful do not over bake them or burn them !
Let it cool on the wire rack .( And if you do not keep an eagle eye, a few of them would be sampled right away)
Store in an airtight container
( Now please excuse me – a cup of Ayurvedic tea is calling my name!!! )
Fresh, dewy eyed and eyes full of spark a young lady landed on the shores of opportunity in the land of the grand USA some 16 plus years ago. While the young lady has progressed in age , thoughts and wisdom, marked by the appearance of few strands of gray ( honestly, truly, I noticed 5 in total),the spark ala dimmed a bit, but still bright I hope nonetheless.
One of the first people I met, was a happy foodie couple in Boston. At that point, A1 was yet to put in an appearance, and I was happy to meet people ( ignorant of any of the pyramid scheme trap and happily oblivious as well ). While the “come over for tea” turned into recruiting for the scam/scheme and I could not wait to get out faster, I did notice these gorgeous milk burfi’s. I also did sneak in more than one. Hey if I had to sit in and listen to all that yakking on gold and gorgeous things within arm’s reach, might as well do it with some indulgence.
In any case, today on father’s day DH was in a bit of a mood. Happy smiley face, clean counters, dishes done, emptying dishwasher and more. Well no complaints, cause I love this mood. A nice card, a self bought “surprise” on the homey , techy, front and great family time. And I decided to do something that so grandly resembled hours of labor while actually needing a few min of microwave time. The best part was I did not need to hunt for the ingredients. My awesome neighbor/ friend/ b – partner decided to donate to me 3 huge tubs of Ricotta cheese before her trip to India. 2 Thumbs up! I suppose more Ricotta cheese recipes need to be made now!
This has been the perfect day and weekend is done ! But hey summer holidays on and no school tomorrow.. Which means more staying up for the kids.. Love this !
Saffron Kalakkand – Quick and Easy Cheese and Milk Fudge with Saffron and nuts
Low Fat or Part Skim Ricotta Cheese – 16 oz
Non fat Condensed Milk – 14 oz
Saffron strands : a pinch
Cardamom Pods – 1/2 tsp
Pistachios – 6
Almonds – 10
Ghee or melted butter: 1 tsp to serve as grease
Prep work :
In a spice grinder, add in the saffron strands and cardamom seeds and fine grain powder these without adding water.
Prep work 2:
Finely chop the pistachios and almonds in a food processor or spice grinder.
In a microwave safe glass bowl or container, mix the Ricotta Cheese and the Condensed Milk well. I used a wire whisk to break out the lumps and completely homogenized the mix. Took about 5 min or so
Cook in the microwave for about 12 minutes uncovered. Keep an eye out for the bubbling mix. Stop and scrape the edges and re-do this process. I did this step in about 5 stage intervals of 3 : 3: 2:2:2 min cooking . I suppose you can go all out and cook in lower intervals, but I just needed to keep a clean microwave oven. No spill mess 🙂
Next microwave covered for about 6 min or so. Stop every 2 min , scrape the sides stir and continue.
Just before the final 2 min stage add in the cardamom and saffron mix. Cook for a final 2 min. The heat in the cooked milk fudge will release the flavor or the saffron and cardamom and you will see the beautiful color of the saffron permeating the fudge mix.
The final stage should resemble soft crumbly mix . Slightly wet and moist mix would be the ideal stage to stop the cooking process.
In a square serving container , grease the bottom with ghee or melted unsalted butter. Go easy the grease part. The idea is for easy release of the pieces not to drench it !
Pour in the hot fudge mix in the prepped container with grease and add in the crushed nuts mix on the top and pat down to resemble an even surface.
Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for an hour or so.