If only I could bite, nibble, and sample thandai instead of merely drinking it. That’s the thought that gave birth to the idea of eggless thandai cookies. Bursting with nutty savors layered on top of floral flavours, these shortbread cookies are buttery, and just the right amount of sweet!

Somewhere between the February bidding as adieu and March saying Hola, the summer decided to hurry up and soaring temperatures sneaked upon us. And when summer beckons, there is only one thing I crave – thandai. 

Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

What Is Thandai?

It is a North Indian drink that literally means ‘something that cools.’ Think of it as a canvas of milk exquisitely painted with warm spices, seeds, and nuts. The drink is typically made during Holi.

But this time for the festival of colours I wanted thandai with a twist. So, I baked the warmly spiced thandai mix into cookies.

Nutty, buttery shortbread goodness that is just the right amount of sweet. But it is the bouquet of delicate fragrance that hooks you in every time!

Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

How to make thandai cookies?

The old, the young and the somewhere-in-between, everyone will love these fragrant sunshine-hued cookies with slightly crisp edges.

The reason I’m making them for the Holi is that you can make them ahead.  Even those who want cookies fresh out of the oven on the festival can pre-make the dough.

Just wrap it tightly in cling wrap and freeze for up to 2 to 3 weeks. (Stick to double layering – once in cling wrap and then in foil. You’ll avoid freezer burns.)

Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

Start with thandai masala mix

I know you can buy thandai masala, but I grew up on homemade stuff, so that’s what my palate loves. Besides, it is ridiculously easy to make, and the result is exponentially more delicious.  All you have to do pulse almonds, pistachios, cashews, poppy seeds, melon seeds, black pepper, nutmeg, fennel seeds, green cardamom seeds, dried rose petals, and saffron in a masala grinder. (Here’s the full recipe for the instant thandai masala mix.)

You can store the fine powder in an airtight jar and refrigerate it. Take a scoop full out as and when needed. 

Make the thandai cookie dough

  • For the cookie dough, begin with steeping a few strands of saffron in warm milk along with pure almond extract. 
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
  • While the spice infuses the milk, beat butter with icing sugar till it’s fluffy and light.
  • Add the saffron-infused milk to the creamed butter along with all-purpose flour and a hefty amount of thandai masala.
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
  • With your hands, bring all the ingredients together till it is soft and pliable. 
  • In case the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk in increments till it is silken soft and pliable.
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

Baking the eggless thandai cookies

  • Divide the dough in half and roll each half in a log and plonk it into the refrigerator. 
  • In an hour, the dough will be firm, making it easier to slice.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the log into thick pieces – about a quarter of an inch. 
  • Place them on your Silpat-lined tray and then bake!
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

Quick notes

  • All your ingredients must be at room temperature. The butter shouldn’t be melted or frozen. Soft butter is what gives the cookies the right consistency. 
  • You can slice the cookies thinner. It will lend them a crisper texture. 
  • Once sliced, immediately put them in the oven for baking. In case you can’t bake right away, store them in the refrigerator until you can. 

Serving the eggless thandai cookies

The taste of these shortbread treats is just half the magic. The other half is the fragrance. I cannot put into words the spicy aroma that drifts and glides through the home as the cookies cool.

It took a superhuman effort to keep our hands off the tray. But we persevered because I wanted to go the extra mile with the cookies. 

Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies

Once cool, I drizzled a part of them with thick almond milk and icing sugar glaze. And for a bit of sparkle and shimmer, I garnished them with vark (silver leaf).

You can omit both the vark and the glaze. The thandai cookies are fabulous and delicious all on their own and a wonderful reminder that Holi is just about approaching!

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Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Eggless Thandai Cookies

Eggless Thandai Cookies – Bursting with nutty & floral flavors, the shortbread cookies are buttery and sweet, perfect for any occasion!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Servings: 40 cookies
Calories:
Author: Natasha Minocha

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Saffron strands
  • 2 tbsp Warm milk You may need more
  • 3/4 cup ( 150 gms) Butter, softened I used salted butter
  • 1 cup ( 100 gms) Icing sugar
  • 2 cups ( 260 gms) All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract
  • 5-6 tbsp Thandai powder, homemade or store-bought See notes for the recipe

Almond glaze ( optional)

  • 4 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Almond milk You can use regular milk too
  • 1-2 drop Almond extract
  • Vark ( silver leaf) for decoration

Instructions

  • Combine the saffron and warm milk in a small bowl. Keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the saffron-infused milk to the creamed butter along with all-purpose flour, almond extract, and thandai powder.
  • With your hands, bring all the ingredients together till it is soft and pliable. 
  • In case the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk in increments till it is soft and pliable.
  • Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a 12" log.
  • Place the logs carefully on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • You can also wrap the logs well in plastic wrap or butter paper and refrigerate them for 2-3 days or freeze for 2-3 weeks.
  • When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C. Line your baking tray with parchment paper or Silpat.
  • Cut each log into slices, about 1/4" in thickness.
  • Place the slices on the prepared trays. Make sure there is a little gap between them as they will spread a bit during baking.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until light golden in color. Bake for extra 1-2 minutes if you want crispier cookies.
  • Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool.

Almond glaze ( optional )

  • Mix the almond milk, almond extract, and icing sugar in a small bowl, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Drizzle over a part of each cookie with the glaze. For extra shimmer, place bits of vark ( silver leaf) here and there on the glaze.
  • Let the glaze set for 2-3 minutes.
  • Store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!

Notes

You find the recipe for Thandai Powder here.
Eggless Thandai Cookies | Easy thandai shortbread cookies | Spiced shortbread cookies