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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

German Sand Cookies (Heidesand)

These are absolutely divine!


They have a really unique taste which comes from caramelizing the butter solids prior to creaming the butter. So, no, these cannot be done with margarine. It NEEDS TO BE BUTTER. That’s the only way to achieve the unique taste! And as the name may suggest, the texture is like very fine sand  - delicious buttery, sweet, delicious sand!

I may have forgotten a lot of things from my childhood, but I vividly remember having these cookies for the first time! After all the wonderful Christmas cookies I was used to around Christmas time, these seemed so amazing!

Anyway, do try them – you won’t regret it! Well, your hips might, but you won’t!


Oh, before I get to the recipe, here’s something I want to introduce you to – in case you haven’t heard of it yet: Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste.


This stuff rocks! I started using it about a year ago and it’s been my go to Vanilla ever since!



250 g Butter

200 g Sugar

scrapings of 1/2 Vanilla bean or 1 tsp of the Vanilla Bean Paste

1 pinch of salt

375 g flour

1 tbsp milk



1. Place the butter in a sauce pan and melt. It helps for this pan not to be a dark coated pan, as you can’t really see the butter change color. A stainless steel pan would work better. Keep the melted butter at a simmer, stirring the foam away occasionally so you can see the bottom of the pan.

DO NOT WALK AWAY from the pan – the darkening will happen pretty quickly!

As soon as the butter solids on the bottom turn a darkish golden brown, take the pan off the heat and pour the melted butter into a heavy glass dish. Don’t leave it in the saucepan as it might continue darkening the butter.



Let it cool at room temp for 1 hr, then in the refrigerator for at least another hour or overnight.


2. Place the caramelized butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat (with the whisk attachment) on medium high for 2-3 minutes.


Add the flour and milk and combine the dough with the paddle attachment. The consistency of the dough should be like fine, damp sand. It should be crumbly, but when you pick some up and press between your fingers it will just hold together!


3. When thoroughly combined, empty the dough onto a sheet of aluminum foil, plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form a log of about 2-2.5 inches in diameter. Make it as even as possible. Twist the ends of the paper and place the dough log in the refrigerator overnight.


4. The next day, take out the dough log about 15 minutes before you are planning on baking the cookies. Preheat the oven to 320 F.

With a very sharp knife, make 1/4 inch slices and place on a cookie sheet. You can put these relatively close together as they won’t really rise.

PB225969[1] PB225971[1]

If your log ended up a little messy and you like the cookies to be more uniform, just use a round cookie cutter to cut out rounds of the slices.


5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn just golden brown. Once done, take the cookie sheet out of the oven, but DO NOT touch them until they are cooled down completely. They will totally fall apart when they are still warm but start to hold together quite nicely once they are cool!


They are best within the first 3 days of baking! Not that they usually last any longer anyway Happy

Makes about 35 cookies.

PB225974b[1] See all the buttery, “sandy” goodness? See the caramelized butter solids and vanilla bean specks? YUM!



I’ll be linking this recipe to many of the link parties on the side bar! Please visit them for some great recipes, crafting ideas and DIY projects!

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  1. You were featured on my blog today! Come check it out! http://danajeanward.blogspot.com/

  2. Just found out my favorite bakery that made these closed last fall; so I will try your recipe; thanks!


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Birgit Kerr