Most of us don’t want to think about sand in our food, but these Pennsylvania Dutch sand tarts are truly delicious. The “sand” in this instance is some sugar sprinkled on top these delightfully crisp cookies.
These are a speciality in areas where Amish live but you can make them at home for a taste of Lancaster County anywhere you go.
To make these cookies a good rolling pin is helpful. I have one that you can adjust the guides on the sides to ensure that you never roll too thick or too thin.
When baked and cooled these cookies should have a signature snap to them which means you don’t want to roll them out too thick. Without this crispness these cookies would be more like sugar cookies. As nice as sugar cookies are, we’re not looking for a chewy cookie here. They’ve got to break in two with a snap so thinner is better.
Once you’ve got your cookies cut out it’s time to top them with their sandy sugar. It’s a mix of granulated sugar and just a little bit of cinnamon.
The cinnamon colors the sugar, making it look more like sand. A little brushing of milk before the sand goes on keeps it in place during baking.
You’ll want to watch these cookies like a hawk because you don’t want them to get too dark on the undersides.
These really simple cookies require only a short list of ingredients, but they have such a wonderful texture and flavor that with one taste you’ll see why these cookies are an Amish Country favorite.
Pennsylvania Dutch Sand Tarts
Makes about 50-60 cookies
2h 20m prep time
10m cook time
For the cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in egg and slowly add flour, mixing as you go. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- When ready to bake preheat oven to 350˚F. Roll out dough to 1/16” thickness and use 2” cookie cutter to cut into circles.
- Place on lined baking sheet and use pastry brush to apply a little milk to each cookie. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are crisp. Allow to cool completely before serving. Cookies should snap when broken in two.
Recipe adapted from My Cookie Journey.