Monday, December 16, 2013

Sand Tarts

It's been a cookie baking frenzy around here.  This week is the week to put together gift packages for teachers and friends, and I've been baking my heart out.  The hardest thing to do is to keep the cookies around long enough to get them into the packages. My family can't get enough, and now I've taken to hiding them so that little fingers and begging hearts can't sneak them into their mouths.


Every day this week I will be sharing some of my favorite cookie recipes.  Some are old favorites and some are new this year.  The first cookie I bring to you is one of our favorites that my mom first began sharing with her friends when I was little.

Sand Tarts are a crunchy, buttery cookie filled with chopped pecans and rolled in powder sugar.  Their snowball look makes me naturally think of Christmas and taste delicious with your morning coffee or a little spiked coffee in the evening.  It's a very simple cookie with few ingredients but it delivers a nice, tangy taste that will absolutely melt in your mouth.  The funny thing is when I was little I was not a fan but that was only because of the powder sugar mess they made.  This fastidious girl now has a care less attitude and can now devour these whole in my mouth with no problem.

Small pecan pieces, but not too small
Two things I highly suggest before making these cookies...In order to really get the full, tangy and buttery flavor, buy fresh ingredients, especially the butter.  I find organic, unsalted butter to be the best choice, letting it soften for 30 minutes only.  Cabot and Trader Joe's have fantastic choices for butter.  The next tip is to use fresh pecans cut into small pieces but not so small that you lose them in the batter. You want to see the pieces but not leave them so big that they make the cookie fall apart when you bite into them.

So make yourself some sand tarts.  Keep them all to yourself or share.  Nothing goes better while wrapping presents than to pop one of these cookies in your mouth!

For a print-friendly version of the recipe, click the following link:  https://sites.google.com/site/sandtartcookie/

Ingredients:
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1/3 cup of powdered sugar
2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Extra powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

2.  In a mixing bowl, add your butter and powdered sugar.  Mix on medium speed until the butter and powdered sugar are light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3.  Slowly add your sifted flour, mixing until just combined with each addition. Do not over mix.  The cookies will hold together and be less crumbly if you do not over mix your dough.
Sifted flour

4.  Stir in your nuts and vanilla.
Stir in your pecans and vanilla

5.  Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball and place on your prepared cookie sheet.  You can bunch them up about an inch apart. They will not spread.
Balls of cookie dough

6.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Move to a cooling rack.

7.  Let the cookies cool completely before rolling them in your extra powdered sugar. If they are still warm, the sugar will get pasty and melt onto the cookie.
Cooled cookies ready for rolling

Happy Cookies