Monday, December 21, 2009

Sand Tarts

Like I said on Friday, my first true sand tart success was this past week. I had almost decided it was time to ditch the sand tart recipe and just stick to my sugar cookie recipe. This batch of cookies saved sand tarts for me.

In case you aren't familiar with sand tarts, or at least my definition of sand tarts, let me fill you in. Sand tarts are very thin sugar cookies. A little sandy, crispy, they are thinly rolled and baked only long enough to crisp, but not brown. When I was looking for other sand tart recipes online, I discovered there are other versions of sand tarts--many have walnuts or pecans or almonds on them. Some are circular and decorated with almonds to look like sand dollars. The sand tarts I am familiar with though tend to have no nuts---just cut out with cookie cutters and topped with a little colored sugar.

A good baking pan is very helpful for this. Just a plain, heavy duty baking sheet is all you need---nothing fancy. If you don't have good baking sheets, I would recommend going to a restaurant supply store. I found them there for $7.50 a piece and I am in love with mine---the best baking sheets I've found. Other than that, try to get the cookies all the same thickness or at least group cookies of similar thickness on one pan. That will allow the cookies to get crispy without browning. The cookies need to refrigerate over night or freeze for an hour before baking.

Sand Tarts
from Good Housekeeping's Cookies!

1 c butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Beat butter and sugar in a mixer until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs and vanilla until mixed. Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined, occasionally scraping bowl with a rubber scraper. Shape dough into 4 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough until 1/8" thick. To prevent dough from sticking, pick up and rotate/flip dough frequently, reflouring as necessary. Cut dough into as many cookies as possible with cookie cutters, reserving trimmings. Place cookies on large ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles if desired. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 8 - 12 minutes (depending on thickness), until cookies are crispy, but not browned. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings until all the dough is used. If desired, frost with icing when finished (if you didn't top with sprinkles, etc).

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