Sand Cookies, Peonies and a Robin

I was riffling through “The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook” when I came across this recipe for Sand Cookies. The cookbook itself is a fun trip to the past, circa 1963. And, the recipes looked good. So, given the reputation of Pepperidge Farm cookies, I decided to give these Sand Cookies a go.

As it turns out, the cookies are fun to make (the “dough” looks exactly like sand) and are really delicious and incredibly buttery. This is because the butter is browned before using in the recipe, and browning amps up the butter flavor to the max. So there is a toasted, roasted butter flavor. Oh, my! Delish.

Sand Cookies

A Seven Sisters rose

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1-1/4 cups unbleached sifted white flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter over low heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, or for about 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the sugar to this, and sift again.

When the butter is cooled, stir in the vanilla, and then add the sifted ingredients. Stir the mixture until it starts coming together, and then finish off by kneading lightly. The dough will look like sand and be a bit crumbly. Form into 18 one-inch balls, pressing the mixture firmly together.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, and press down lightly with your fingers. You may press a slivered almond on the cookie, too, if you wish.

Bake for about 14 to 15 minutes. The bottoms should be a medium dark golden brown. After cooling, sift on some powdered sugar.

Baking notes: There is a fair amount of sifting in this recipe, and I did it as follows: I measured 1-1/4 cups of flour and then sifted it onto a piece of waxed paper. I then poured this back into the measuring cup, and found that it was a little over the required amount. I spooned this off. This may seem persnickety, but that small amount of flour could make a difference in this small-batch cookie. So don’t skip sifting.

Also, being a sand cookie, this cookie is very beige. It will not brown appreciably in the oven–it just gets even more beige. So that’s why I topped each cookie with an almond sliver and powdered sugar, just so they aren’t so beige. You will forgive them their beige-ness once you take a bite!

The butter will brown over low heat–just be sure to keep an eye on it.

The photos below show the browned butter in the bowl, the sandy dough, and the cookies ready for baking.

Peony Season

Lastly, a young robin in a birdbath, just his size. Like a little robin bonbon! Take care. Fran

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