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Dec 6, 2009 11:43 AM

Ever have sand tarts???

I did a search on here recently for sand tarts and I was surprised that I found nothing. It got me thinking about these lovely thin little cookies my grandmother & mother always made during the holidays. I did a search online and learned they are a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition (we're from PA).

After thanksgiving, mom always rolled out her card table into the kitchen and set up her sand tart shop. It was a laborous process to make these very thin cookies and they had to be handled ever so gently because they were so fragile. They were simple in appearance - thin, egg wash glaze, cinnamon sugar, and a single pecan on top - but so delicious. The thinner the better, mom always said, and I can remember her raising an eyebrow at others tarts that were too thick. Ha!

Just curious who is familiar with these holiday treats and how your family prepares them. I found on youtube a video of a family making them and they sprinkled theres with different colored sprinkles - something I rarely saw (occasionally someone would do red & green).

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  1. my nana made these too! I make them every christmas!

    Cream together 2 cups butter abd 2 1/2 cups sugar
    Add 4 cups of flour and two eggs.

    She would roll these into large logs and cut into cookies. I roll the whole log in
    sugar and then sprinkle with sugar after I cut them
    Bake at 350 for 12 can also sprinkle with sugar after baking.

    Enjoy! they are so decadent because of all the is the holidays!!

    1. my aunt pauline made sand tarts. i've got her recipe and make crescent shapes, like she did. the crescents are about the thickness of a ring finger, about 2 1/2" long.
      pecans are chopped pretty finely and added into the dough. i don't recall any glaze. these cookies are delicate and crumbly along the lines of a shortbread.
      i absolutely love them! i've used powdered sugar to coat, but never sprinkles.

      4 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        this is our southern version of sand tarts, at least in our family:

        1. re: alkapal

          something VERY similar-looking here in Germany is called Vanillakipferl

        2. re: alkapal

          What you describe is what I also know as sand tarts (native Texan here). I remember them so fondly. I've made them many, many times around the holidays. Now my challenge is to figure out how to make them gluten free...

        3. I thought sand tarts were made in the little tartlet shells. I have a set of those and thought that's what they were for. I must be thinking of something else. These sound wonderful.

          3 Replies
          1. re: karykat

            Are you thinking of tassies? I make that in those little mini tins, using a sweet dough made of cream cheese, butter etc.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Yes, I think maybe I am. But are those scandinavian? I thought my tins made a scandinavian thing?

              1. re: karykat

                Tassies are southern. I make mine in mini-muffin tins.

          2. I make the "Joy of Cooking" sand tarts every year. I either sprinkle them with sugar or make jam-filled sandwich cookies with them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: visciole

              We used to make the Joy of Cooking ones when I was a kid -- that is to say, my father made the dough and we rolled it out, used Christmas-shaped cookie cutters to cut out the cookies and decorated them heavily. I think we didn't roll them out thin enough because I remeber them being pretty hard to bite into. One year we made a house (like a gingerbread house) out of that dough and it lasted forever....

            2. I grew up in central PA and sand tarts are 3rd generation (gramma, mom, me) for me. We roll them out and cut into X-mas shapes. Some get sugared, some get sprinkled, some get sugar decos, some get iced, and some get all painted and gussied up! Maybe sand tarts are a PA Dutch thing because I never see any others at the cookie swaps where I'm living now.

              1 Reply
              1. re: morwen

                Yes, the rolled out variety are what I am familiar with. I think some posters are referring to a different kind of sand tart. I've always known them to be very thin and delicate. Central PA is where we hail from also. I've never seen them down south where we are now, but also I rarely see them back home in PA other than at my families' gatherings.