Cookies at Grandma’s house are one of every child’s favorite things, and I was no exception! During the holidays my Grandma Lydia made many varieties of delicious cookies for her family to enjoy. One of my favorite kinds was “Sand Tarts”. These are thin and crispy, with a delicious, simple flavor similar to a sugar cookie. My grandmother had lots of wonderful cookie cutter shapes she used for her Sand Tarts – including stars and candy canes, and she sprinkled them with colored sugar.
The origins of this cookie recipe are not clear, although everyone agrees they’re in the family of sugar cookies. Some say their name is derived from “Saint Heart” cookies (a sugar cookie made in the shape of a heart for Catholic holy days), and others say they are named “Sand Tart” because with their round shape, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, they resemble the ocean’s Sand Dollar. Some recipes call for lemon flavoring, and some call for an egg wash before baking, while others call for milk. Some recipes call for nuts, others do not. Regardless, this old-fashioned cookie is a wonderful holiday favorite of mine, and lots of fun to make! Today, I’m using the recipe from the Mennonite Community Cookbook.
Begin by creaming the shortening or butter (I use half of each), and sugar together. (I like to use raw sugar.) Add vanilla extract.
Sift all dry ingredients together, and add to butter mixture. Mix until dough forms, taking care not to over-beat. Chill the dough for 2 or more hours.
Brush with milk or half & half.
Sprinkle with only sugar, or with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 8-11 minutes at 350. Watch the cookies, and remove before the edges begin to get too brown.
Enjoy your cookies with family, neighbors, friends, and a cup of tea, coffee, or milk!
- 1 cup shortening or butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Cinnamon & Sugar to sprinkle on top of cookies
- Cream shortening (or butter) and sugar together.
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture.
- Mix just until medium-soft dough is formed. (Do not over-mix.)
- Chill for several hours in refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Roll on floured surface, until thin, and cut with desired cookie cutters.
- Brush tops with milk or half & half, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
- Place 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet, bake for 8-11 minutes.
Recipe source: Mrs. Samuel Martin; Mrs. Richard Danner; Mennonite Community Cookbook, Herald Press. ("The oldest recipe books call these cookies Saint Hearts.")