Recipes/ Snacks

Thandai Shortbread Cookies

Thandai-Shortbread-Cookies /

I made Thandai Shortbread Cookies because I’m currently obsessed with all things thandai. Holi is around the corner after all. The festival of colours is incomplete without thandai. While the traditional method is to drink thandai – a cool, milk-based drink flavoured with thandai masala, there’s no reason why you can’t eat thandai as well. So the Thandai Shortbread Cookies are my way of enjoying the fragrant flavours of thandai on Holi and well after it too.

Thandai-Shortbread-Cookies /

Delicious and versatile thandai masala

It must’ve been a genius culinary mind that came up with the thandai flavour mix. Who would’ve thought to combine ingredients that are so different from each other, to produce a mixture that is so deeply aromatic yet refreshing in a mellow summery kind of way. Subtly floral dried rose petals, hot, dark black peppercorns, luxuriously scented saffron threads, intensely aromatic fennel and cardamom seeds, creamy almonds, nutty pistachios and poppy seeds and smooth melon seeds are all ground up into this beautifully delicious poetry of a powder. Buttery shortbreads just seemed like perfectly flaky vehicles to carry these exotic layers of flavour. My small batch of Thandai Shortbread Cookies proved me right, feathery crumbs dissolved immediately on my tongue while the notes of thandai continued to resonate their complexity on my mind and palate for long after. I tossed in some chopped pistachios to add a little bite and texture to the lightly sweet Thandai Shortbread Cookies. 

Tips to make the perfect Thandai Shortbread Cookies

  • Use a food processor to bring the ingredients together. Run your processor in bursts, so it stays cool. Be patient while doing this, it may take a few minutes for the cubed butter to mix with the flour and form a homogenous dough. Do not be tempted to increase the speed of the processor, do it at the lowest speed.
  • The dough will be shaggy and stiff, use a pastry scraper or palette knife to spread it evenly.
  • This recipe uses oat flour. Whether you grind your own or use store-bought, make sure it’s a fine grind.
  • Slice the Shortbread, while it’s just-baked and still warm.  If you slice the shortbread after it has cooled, it may crack and crumble.
  • Chill the dough for 6 hours or overnight.
  • After it has baked, switch off the oven and leave the Thandai Shortbread inside to cool, dry-out and crisp-up.
  • If you find that your shortbread is partially cooked, cook it for a further 10-15 minutes till it is done. 
Thandai-Shortbread-Cookies /

This is a forgiving recipe that anyone can bake. Serve them to your guests this Holi and surprise your guests with this unexpected treat. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.If they go soft, they can be refreshed in the oven on low temp and they’ll be crisp again.

Thandai-Shortbread-Cookies /

Thandai Shortbread Cookies

Buttery shortbreads flavoured with delicious thandai masala
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Indo-British
Servings 10 bars


  • 150 g unsalted butter, cold but not very hard, cubed,
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50 g powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
  • tbsps thandai masala
  • 30 g pistachios, chopped


  • Line a 9"x9" square baking tin with parchment.
  • The butter should be cold but not rock hard. Cube the butter and add to the food processor along with all the other ingredients and combine on low speed till you have a rough dough.
  • Press the dough evenly into the tin, prick all over with a fork, cover with clingfilm and chill for 6-7 hrs in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 148℃ and bake the shortbread for 1 hr to 1hr 15 minutes.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and score to cut the shortbread into bars in the tin. Return it to the switched-off oven and let it cool and crisp up. Store in an airtight container.

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