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!
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