Thursday, November 4, 2010

Simple Butter Cookies (Naan Katai/ Narayan Katar)

The first cookie I ever had in my life - Naan Katai or Narayan Katar. The name sounds funny and used to tickle the funny bone in me as a kid. Simple, delicious melt-in-mouth cookie with irresistible flavour and simplicity personified! These are made during Christmas and are also known as Snowballs.

I have quoted the exact proportion so that its easier for anyone to follow this recipe. This is a recipe demanding lot of ghee so don't get petrified with the amount of ghee being added. This recipe takes me back to childhood days. My mom made these when we were tiny tots. Those days cool, sleek Ovens cosily adoring one corner of your kitchen were unheard of, forget about owning one; she slogged in the kitchen for hours, made a huge mammoth batch and carried them all in a large aluminum tin to the local bakers. The whole bakery would have the redolent aroma of clarified butter (ghee) wafting all around. I still remember rushing to the baker with a sense of glee and excitement just to collect our cute looking cookies. Fast forward, decades later, I find myself baking these goodies on a crisp, cosy autumn evening in my humble kitchen in US. There is a brimming sense of nostalgia and I happily reminisce the joys of an exuberant childhood that was full of memories, mommy's love and good food. I only wish my Mom and Dad could sample my cookies and I could be with them to celebrate the festivities. I certainly miss home today and vow to enjoy the festivities with my family and friends out here.

Happy Diwali To Everyone!!
All Purpose Flour - Maida - 1 and 1/2 cup
Melted Clarified Butter (Ghee) - 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Powdered Sugar - 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder (optional) - 1/2 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon

For Garnish - Almonds, Pistachio, Tutti-frutti bits.

Melt the ghee and allow to cool. Mix the sugar with ghee. Sieve the flour along with baking powder. Mix well and slowly add the flour-baking powder mix spoon by spoon. This will form a dough which is malleable. The dough is not stiff but not loose either. Add ghee spoon by spoon to form a ball. Leave in a cool place for 3-6 hours. Make cookies which are 2" in diameter. Flatten them and spread them on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Plonk a tutti-fruitti, almond or pistachio bits. Pre-heat the oven for 10 minutes. Bake them at 350 F for 15 minutes. Bake till the crust is done and light cracks are formed. Transfer to a cooling rack and store in air tight containers. They remain good and fresh for a week and little beyond.

Note - Do not tamper with cookies once baking is done. Transfer to a cooling rack in a cool place, let them cool down and the cookies come together to form a perfect tasting one. Do not compromise on Ghee, as its the chief binding agent for the flour and other ingredients. Use good quality Ghee for best results.


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