I’m about to both excite and terrify you at the same time with just one sentence. You ready?
Christmas Day is exactly 1 month away.
(I’m sorry/You’re welcome.)
With that terrifyingly awesome thought in mind, would you class this as an acceptable time to start preparing for Christmas? Because I would. Though, that’s not saying much as I’ve been pretty much ready for Christmas since my previous Apple, Parsnip & Chestnut Soup post… but that’s another story! 😉
However, last weekend I decided I’d start preparing for Christmas by attempting to make something that will FOREVER make me think of the festive season.
No, I’m not talking the wet, cold, fun to throw at your friends kind… I’m talking Goan biscuits. Obviously.
It’s a typical Goan tradition to make a specific selection of sweet treats/nibbles around Christmas time. We call this ‘kuswar’ in the Konkani language, and will consist of various types of biscuits, cakes, pastries, and some savouries too! Goan families usually make these in advance to offer to their guests around Christmas time, as well as keep a decorative plate of ‘kuswar’ topped up on Christmas Day!
Every year my Nana B will expertly make BOXES AND BOXES of all these different treats in the weeks running up to Christmas… just so she can give out plenty of each to her 3 daughter’s families. That obviously includes mine. *smug emoji face*
Now, one of my absolute fave sweet treats from this selection is what we call ‘Snowballs’… or ‘nankhatai’ as they’re more widely known! They’re kinda like an Indian shortbread, but the use of icing sugar instead of caster sugar gives them this bizarrely amazing smooth powdery yet crumbly texture that I just love! They’re so simple to make, and sooooo tasty!
Whilst these aren’t my Nana B’s snowballs, I’m gonna go out on a limb by saying they actually taste just like hers! To say I’m chuffed would be the BIGGEST understatement of 2015! *hair flick*
Firstly I added the melted ghee, icing sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Taking care not to surround myself in a cloud of sugar, I whisked these together to a smooth liquid, removing all lumps.
I gradually added the flour, baking powder and salt, and kept stirring till I got a smooth paste-like dough that came away from the sides of the bowl. It will feel tacky, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers. I left this to firm up a little at room temperature for about 1 hour. You don’t want to leave it in the fridge or it’ll get too firm and brittle.
I then rolled the dough into small golf ball-sized balls. To do this I initially pressed/kneaded each piece of dough in my hands to warm up slightly, just so I could roll it into a tight ball (to prevent cracking/holes in the biscuits!). I placed these on a lined baking tray, then baked at a low temperature of 140°C on the middle shelf for about 20-25 minutes. You want them to keep their white snowball colour, but obviously be baked too!
I left them to completely cool and set up before serving. Ideally with coffee. Or a cup of chai.
- 250ml ghee, melted
- 180g icing sugar
- ½tsp vanilla extract/paste
- ½tsp salt
- 350g plain flour
- ¼tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 140°C.
- Whisk together the melted ghee, icing sugar and vanilla extract, making sure to remove all lumps.
- Stir in the flour and baking powder till you get a soft paste like dough.
- Leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour to firm up a little.
- Roll into small balls and place on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove before they brown.
- Leave to cool before serving.