Oh how I love my heritage!  I'm a quarter each Norwegian, Irish, English and German.  I look and act and feel Irish, but I bake cookies like a true Scandinavian.  I'm very blessed to have my Norwegian grandmother's set of Sandbakkel tins.  Two sets, actually, one large and one small.  They only come out at Christmastime.

Sandbakkel translates to "sand tart" and the best way to describe them is "almond-flavored butter cookie in the shape of a muffin paper."  Sand tart refers to the tart-shape as well as the crispy-sandy-buttery texture.  When one sees the shape for the first time, the assumption is that surely they are made to be filled with something, perhaps custard or ice cream or fruit.  NO.  Ok, you can if you want, but we don't, and traditionally they were not filled, but rather eaten as a cookie alone.  Do what you like and don't tell your Nana.

So here's the recipe that came in the box of tins I have.  Nothing magical in the ingredients, except for the mysterious happenings when butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and flour get together in a bowl.  The process is putzy at best, but if you have nice sister in law handy, or some dexterous kids, or some fast-working thumbs of your own, then it'll be a breeze.  I would guess you can find the tins at plenty of online shopping sites, but if you have the time and inclination, seek out a local Scandinavian retailer or specialty food store and buy a set from them.

I'll brew you some coffee, put on good music, and you can have a seat at my kitchen counter.

Sandbakkels (Sand Tarts)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg and almond extract, beat until fluffy.  Add flour and beat to make a stiff dough.  Form into a ball, cover and chill 1-2 hours.  Pinch off a small amount and press into bottom and sides of tins, making it as thin as possible without holes.  Place tins on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Cool partly before popping gently out of tins (tap gently!).  Cool tins before filling again with dough.  Cool cookies completely.  They freeze great!  Do not wash tins, just wipe out with a cloth.

Grandma's set, original box and recipe.

Cooling in the tins.

The finished product!
JillCookies, Holidays2 Comments