By Cat, Jun 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Sand cookies are a great Scandinavian treat; I’m not sure why they are called ‘Sand‘. There are two main types of Sand cookies:
- Sandbakels (Norsk) or sandbakkelser (Dansk, Swedish): For these, the dough is pressed into a tiny fluted mold that resembles a miniature tart pan. They are typically served as is (upside down so you can better see the pattern), but they may also be filled with preserves or nuts with whipped cream.
- Sand kager (Norsk, Swedish) or sandkager (Dansk): These are most like Scottish shortbread and can be made by pressing out to cover an entire cookie sheet, then cut into squares after baking, or rolled into balls and flattened with a sandbagger press. The Almond Sand Cookie on this page is of this type. NOTE: Sandies is an Anglicized name for this cookie. Cornmeal sandies are not Scandinavian, but are a similar cookie.
- See also: 1. Cookies Menu; 2. Scandinavian Foods Menu; 3. Scottish Shortbread
- Includes: 1. Sandkager press; 2. About ingredients; 3. Recipe
When I was a kid, we bought dried (chipped) beef to make SOS – chipped beef on toast – for a casual dinner. This dried beef came in small glass jars with a cut-glass design on the bottom that looked like a star or a daisy. Mom saved these glasses for serving orange juice with breakfast, but they also came in handy for pressing the design into a shortbread or sand cookie; I still have one of these glasses and treat it with great care. I also have a cute cookie press that imprints a cat within a square on a round cookie – this is a twist on the Scotts press for shortbread cookies, that traditionally imprinted a scottie dog on the cookie.
About ingredients for Sandkager
Sugar is an essential ingredient for the proper texture of these cookies, so I have not attempted to replace with stevia. Minimally processed Rapadura sugar (dried sugar cane juice) will work wonderfully in these recipes, and is more healthful; however, it adds a caramel color that may not be desirable for holiday celebrations.
Flour: Most modern recipes call for all white flour, but I prefer to use a bit of whole wheat pastry flour to improve the nutritional quality of the cookie. Or, for a lighter color, hard white winter wheat, such as Wheat Montana’s Prairie Gold could be used. Nutritionally, spelt is a better flour, but I don’t like it for these cookies.
Butter: Always use unsalted butter for these cookies, for the best result. Do not use margarine or ‘vegetable spread’ for these cookies, as they will lose their shape in the oven. Also, don’t use vegetable shortening as it contains toxic trans-fats.
Almonds: Many sand cookies include almond flavoring – either as an extract, or as ground almonds. This recipe uses finely-chopped almonds (or almond meal); for maximum nutritional benefit, sprout them, then dry/dehydrate them before chopping (or you might find sprouted almonds at your natural food store). Alternately, chop then soak them overnight, they dry them. For more on these methods, see Soaking/Sprouting Nuts & Seeds.
Sand Cookies with Almonds
This recipe is adapted from Wonderful Wonderful Danish Cooking, by Ingeborg Dahl Jensen. Unlike the Danish Shortbread (Sandkager) cookie, this dough does not need to chill and rest in the fridge overnight, rather only a few hours. And it uses chopped almonds for flavoring.
I have not yet tested this recipe.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 4 cups unbleached white flour (or 2 cups each unbleached white flour & whole wheat pastry flour), measured after sifting
- 1 cup ( 2 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 cup Rapadura sugar or white cane sugar
- ¼ pound shelled almonds, chopped fine, or ¼ pound almond meal
- 2 eggs, beaten
- granulated white cane sugar for top of cookie when using the press
- flour sifter
- stand mixer fitted with dough hook
- mixer bowl
- medium bowl
- cookie sheet(s)
- Sandkager press
- Dough: Place 4 cups white, or mix of white & whole wheat flour in sifter; sift into a 1 or 2 cup dry measure. Measure 4 ¼ cups of the sifted flour in this way, adding additional sifted white flour if needed. After each measure, pass a knife blade across the cup so that the top of the flour is exactly even with the measuring cup. Set aside in medium bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth.
- Add chopped almonds and beaten eggs. Mix well.
- Add measured, sifted flour and mix again.
- Chill dough – only a few hours.
- Prep for baking: After chilling the dough: Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour cookie sheet(s).
- Two options to shape the cookies:
- Option 1: Place dough in middle of cookie sheet; using thumbs, work dough toward edges, as thinly as possible (if your sheet is small, you may need two). Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Option 2: Roll bits of dough into small balls; place on prepared cookie sheet; dip a sandkager or shortbread press (or bottom of a glass) in granulated sugar and press the cookie flat, about ¼” thick.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Cut into squares.
- Wonderful Wonderful Danish Cooking, by Ingeborg Dahl Jensen (see Beloved Cookbooks for more)