5 Ingredient Kaju Katli (Kaju Barfi) – Melt In Your Mouth!

5 from 4 votes

This recipe for homemade five ingredient kaju katli (kaju barfi) is delicious. It is smooth, creamy and halwai jaisa with a melt in mouth texture. It’s one of those sweets you can’t just have one of! Boxes of kaju katli, amongst other Indian sweets are often gifted during Indian holidays.

kaju katli

Time to make: 25 minutes

Kaju katli is one of the most popular Indian sweets. It is often referred to as a cashew fudge and has a smooth texture, a slightly nutty aroma, and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. “Kaju” means cashews and “Katli” means thin slices.

I love making kaju katli and have made many times to give as gifts. A box of kaju ki barfi is often gifted for special occasions. This delightful mithai can easily be made at home just like the ones you get at sweet shops. 

With detailed steps and pictures shared through my experience, get ready to make perfect kaju katli for the festive season or Diwali celebration with this easy kaju katli recipe.

  • Vegetarian and vegan friendly
  • Gluten-free
  • SO DELICIOUS
Kaju katli diamonds with edible gold foil.

Main Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients. Below are ingredient notes. Full ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

Ingredients for kaju katli in bowls.

Cashews: The primary ingredient of Kaju Katli is cashew nuts, which give the sweet its signature flavor and texture. Cashews are finely ground into a smooth powder or paste to create the base of this dessert. 

The quality of cashews used greatly influences the final taste, so it’s essential to use high-quality cashews.

Milk powder: Milk powder is added to enhance the creaminess and richness and is used by sweet shops. It serves as a binder and contributes to the sweet’s soft and fudgy consistency.

Use whole milk powder.

Sugar: White sugar is cooked with the cashew and milk powder mixture to create a smooth, sweet syrup. The level of sweetness can be adjusted according to personal preference, but a balance is crucial to let the natural flavors of cashews shine.

Ghee: Ghee, or clarified butter, is used to add richness, flavor, and a slight buttery undertone. It helps to bind the ingredients and contributes to the sweet’s melt-in-the-mouth texture. 

Ghee also prevents the mixture from sticking to the pan during the cooking process. It also helps the silver foil or gold foil stick to the top of the sweet.

Salt – Not traditionally used, but just a small pinch of salt in any sweet adds balance and a subtle contrast to the sweetness of the kaju ki barfi. It’s my secret to addictive kaju katli!

Traditionally silver foil is used to decorate kaju katli cut into diamond shapes.  I like using gold foil.  Both can be found online, just make sure they are edible, food grade!

Kaju katli laid out in the shape of a flower.

Variations

  • Rose water – optionally you can add in a teaspoon. I prefer without.
  • Cardamom – optionally you can add in 1/4 tsp of cardamom powder. I prefer without.

Making It

To prepare Kaju Katli, the cashews are ground into a fine powder, mixed with milk powder, and then combined with the sugar syrup. The mixture is cooked until it thickens and reaches the right sugar syrup consistency. Ghee is added for flavor and to prevent sticking, and then the mixture is rolled out and cut into diamond or square-shaped pieces before it cools and solidifies.

It is a similar process to making badam katli or almond katli.

Prepare the Cashews

Start by grinding the cashews into a fine powder. You can use a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor for this. Grind in short pulses so they don’t turn into a paste.

Sieve through a fine mesh sieve to catch bigger pieces.  You can grind the bigger pieces again and repeat.

Make sure the cashews are completely dry, as any moisture can affect the texture

Fine mesh sieve
Use a fine mesh sieve to ensure finely ground cashew flour.
Ground cashews on a sieve.
Pulse cashews, don’t blend for too long or it will turn into a paste. Then place onto sieve.

Sieving ground cashews.
Large pieces that remain can be ground again and sieved to make a fine cashew flour.
Finely ground cashews.
You’ll be left with finely ground cashew flour that will be key to smooth, creamy sweets!

Mix Cashews and Milk Powder:

Mix cashew flour and milk powder in a bowl.  If using the optional salt, mix in now.

Cashew flour, milk powder, and salt mixed in a bowl.
Mix together cashew flour, milk powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Prepare the Sugar Syrup:

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the sugar, ghee, and water. Place the pan over medium heat.
  • Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer on medium for 4.5-5 minutes.
  • It will be at just about a one-string consistency. To check this, take a drop of syrup between your thumb and forefinger, and it should form a single thread when pulled apart.
Ghee, sugar, and water in a pan.
To a non-stick, wide bottom pan add water, sugar, and ghee. Mix with a silicon spoon until sugar dissolves.
Sugar syrup simmering in a pan.
Let sugar syrup come to a simmer for about 4.5-5 minutes. Don’t over cook.

Combine Cashew Mixture with Sugar Syrup:

  • Once the sugar syrup reaches the one-string consistency, turn gas temperature all the way down to low.
  • Add in cashew/milk powder blend in parts, while mixing continuously.  This will help reduce the amount of clumps.
  • Spread out mixture across the pan. Turn gas to medium and let the mixture bubble once. Keep an eye, you’ll notice it puff up a bit, form a bubble and pop within 1-1.5 minutes.
  • Turn gas to low. Again, spread mixture across bottom of pan. As it cooks, you will see the mixture holds its shape as you run a spoon through it. This is the sign that it is ready and you can turn off the gas and remove the pot from the stove.
  • This will only take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t over cook.
  • Visual Cues: The dough will pull away from the sides of the pan. The mixture thickens and holds shape for a few seconds like above when spread out in the pan.
Whole milk powder added to sugar syrup in a pan.
Add whole milk powder in 2-3 parts while continuously mixing to combine and form mixture.
Kaju dough in a pan.
Spread out mixture across the pan. Turn gas to medium and let the mixture bubble once. Keep an eye, you’ll notice it puff up a bit, form a bubble and pop within 1-1.5 minutes. Turn gas to low. Again, spread mixture across bottom of pan. As it cooks, you will see the mixture holds its shape as you run a spoon through it. This is the sign that it is ready

Knead the Dough:

  • Pour kaju katli dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper or butter paper.
  • Give it 3-4 minutes to come to room temperature or a temperature that is safe for you to touch.
  • Use the sides of the parchment paper to knead the cashew mixture to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and pliable.  
kaju katli on parchment
Pour onto a parchment, let cool 4-5 minutes until it is safe to touch.
Kaju katli dough kneaded.
Use the ends of the parchment paper to knead the dough for 5 minutes to make a smooth dough. This is KEY to a smooth, creamy texture. It may seem a little sticky at first, but keep going and it will come together.

Shape the Kaju Katli:

  • Fold over the parchment paper sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out the kaju barfi.
  • Roll out the dough into a thin, even layer. Try to make it as thin as you desire, usually around 1/4 inch thick.
Rolled out kaju katli dough on parchment paper with a rolling pin to the side.
Fold over sheet of parchment paper and roll out dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick.
Gold foil on kaju barfi.
Apply a very thin layer of ghee on top. Then add the silver or gold foil. Ghee helps it stick.

Add Gold Foil or Silver Foil

  • Add a few drops of ghee and spread.  This is to give the silver or gold foil something to stick to.
  • Add gold foil or silver foil to the top. It doesn’t have to cover the entire piece.

Cut into Diamonds:

Let kaju katli set and dry for 2-3 hours. Then, use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut it into diamond or square-shaped pieces.  

Use a ruler to get equal-sized shapes. I like to cut diagonally and then in straight lines using a ruler that is 1.5 inches in length.

Cut marks in kaju sweet.
Use a ruler width to cut diagonally (my ruler is about 1.5 inches wide).
Diamond shape kaju katli.
Then use the ruler width to cut straight lines to form the diamond shapes.

Decorating Kaju Katli

Traditionally, silver warq or edible silver foil is used. I have used edible gold foil.  It is linked here.

Stack of kaju katli.

TIPS

  1. Cashew flour: Use finely ground cashews for a smooth texture.
  2. Blending cashews: When blending the cashews don’t over -blend. Pulse to blend.  It took me only about 3-4 pulses to grind the cashews.  Meaning use a start and stop method.  If you blend for too long you risk the cashews releasing fat.
  3. Pay attention to the sugar syrup consistency, do not over boil it
  4. Watch the temperature: Once the cashew/milk powder blend is added to the syrup, make sure to lower the gas temperature and again, don’t overcook
  5. Resting time: While you may be tempted to eat it right away, give it enough time to set, at least 2-3 hours.
Kaju katli.

Storing

1. Allow Kaju Katli to Cool Completely: Before storing, ensure the pieces have cooled to room temperature and hardened properly.

2. Use an Airtight Container  

3. Line the Container: To prevent the sweets from sticking to the container and each other, you can line the bottom and layers with parchment paper or wax paper. This step is especially important if you’re stacking multiple layers.

4. Layering:

  • Place a single layer of pieces in the container. If you need to stack more layers, place a sheet of parchment or wax paper between each layer to prevent sticking.

5. Store in a Cool Place:

  • Keep the airtight container in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing in areas exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat, as it can cause the sweets to become soft or lose their shape.

Step by Step Summary

Cutting and decorating Kaju Katli

Looking For Other Indian Dessert Recipes? Check Out:

Classic Jalebi

Kesar Pista Cupcakes

Chikoo Mousse

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kaju katli

5 Ingredient Kaju Katli – Melt In Your Mouth

Shilpa Joshi
This recipe for homemade five ingredient kaju katli (kaju barfi) is delicious. It is smooth, creamy and halwai jaisa with a melt in mouth texture. It’s one of those sweets you can’t just have one of! Boxes of kaju katli, amongst other Indian sweets are often gifted during Indian holidays.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 9 kaju katli
Calories 63 kcal

Equipment

  • Non stick pan
  • Silicon spoon
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling Pin

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cashew flour finely ground cashews, 102g
  • ¼ cup milk powder 25g
  • ½ cup sugar 108g
  • ½ tsp ghee
  • ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp water
  • gold or silver foil optional for decoration

Instructions
 

  • Grind cashews. Do not over grind, do it in pulses so cashews do not release fat. Sieve so only using finely ground cashews.
  • Mix cashew flour and milk powder together in a bowl
  • Add water, sugar and ghee to non-stick pan. Turn stove on medium and whisk until sugar dissolves. Let simmer on medium heat for about 4½-5 minutes.
  • Turn heat to low. Slowly add in the milk powder/cashew flour blend while mixing. I added it in three parts whiles continuosly mixing.
  • Bring gas to medium once, it will bubble, then bring back down to low (i kept it two notches above lowest setting).
  • Keep mixing total time about 4½-5 minutes. You will notice the mixture has thickened and when you run a spatula/spoon through the mix it holds shape, as pictured.
  • Turn off gas, remove from heat. Let stand 3 minutes.
  • Pour onto a piece of parchment. Let stand about 6-7 minutes.
  • Use the sides of the parchment to knead the kaju katli mix to smooth out the dough
  • Take a few drops of ghee and spread across the top. Fold over the parchment over the kaju katli. Use a rolling pin to roll out.
  • Add gold or silver foil
  • Let cool and atleast 3-4 hours. Cut to make diamond shapes. Using a ruler helps!

Notes

The key to kaju katli is really paying attention to the sugar mixture and not over cooking it at the beginning.
Also, do not overcook and dry out the mix once you add the cashew blend.
It will look a bit wet, but give it time to set and it will have a nice soft texture.
Ideally, I like to let it set overnight.
More tips in blog post

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 14mgPotassium: 47mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 33IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 32mg
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