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Sand Tarts

You’ve heard me kvetching about cut-out cookies in the past. As much as I love to bake, I’ve got very little patience for the flouring, rolling, cutting, baking, and individual decorating involved in making cut-out cookies. And all too often, I just don’t find the results to be worth the effort. But I have one big exception to this sentiment; Sand Tarts.

I found the recipe for these Sand Tarts several years ago, nestled in the back pages of an old Better Homes and Gardens A Festive Christmas cookbook. They are essentially a sugar cookie, accented with lemon and garnished with cinnamon sugar and almonds, which gives them the appearance of perfectly round, perfectly delicious sand dollars.

They are cut-out cookies. They require that floured work surface, rolling, cutting, baking, and individual decorating I have such low tolerance for. But, with these particular cut-out cookies, the end result is worth the work. I make these almost every year.

There is something about the particular combination of flavors and proportion of ingredients in this recipe which produces the most perfectly delicious cookie with the most spectacular texture. They are crisp around the edges with an excellent chewy pull to the center. This recipe is pretty perfect as is, so I’ve shared it almost exactly as it’s written in the cookbook. Give them a try. I think you’ll be happy you did!

Sand Tarts

Very slightly adapted from the Sand Tarts in Better Homes and Gardens’

A Festive Christmas


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 1 Egg White, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Sliced Almonds


Beat butter with an electric mixer for a few seconds, until creamy. Beat in half of the flour, the 2 cups sugar, eggs, and lemon extract until well combined. Stir in the remaining flour.

Divide the dough in half, wrap each half, and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Handling one half of the dough at a time, roll the dough onto a well-floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 2-3 inch round cookie cutter to cut the cookies. Place the cut cookies onto a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Brush each cookie with the beaten egg white. Then, sprinkle with a bit of the cinnamon sugar and arrange 3-5 almonds on top. Bake for about 8-9 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Makes 4-5 dozen


7 responses »

  1. I love your sand dollar tarts (pansy shells) as I know them.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. gingerbreadbagels

    Those look soooo good. I love the almonds on top, so pretty! Thank you sooo much for the recipe, my mama would love these!


  3. Just made two batches of dough! We have been making these for years. We make them a little different by leaving out the lemon extract and no almonds. Still so good and crispy!

  4. I refrigerated dough over night..was very sticky and they were to crispy..break to easy..turned temp down to 250 cooked for 7 minutes because first batch burnt..and my oven is brand new..I silk seemingly be looking for a new recipe..

    • Thanks for your comments, Jodi. I’ve been making these cookies for several years now, using different ovens, and have never had the problem you described. The dough is typically easy to work with (not too sticky at all) and the resulting cookie is crisp around the edges with a touch of chewiness in the center. Love these cookies!! A few things I would consider based on your experience are the perhaps too little flour was added or perhaps they were rolled a bit too thin. Also, does your new oven have a convection setting? If so, the convection setting would cook them much faster than the normal oven setting. They’re worth trying again! When they come out properly, these cookies are one of my favorites!

  5. Reblogged this on Old Road Apples and commented:
    My Great Aunt Leona made these every year at Christmas–this is the closest I’ve ever found to her long lost recipe.

  6. My Great Aunt Leona made these every year at Christmas–this is the closest I’ve ever found to her long lost recipe. Thanks for sharing it!


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