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Zandkoekjes (Dutch 'Sand' Cookies)

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Zandkoekjes (Dutch 'Sand' Cookies)

Zandkoekjes (Dutch 'Sand' Cookies)

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
A real pantry standby, you can dress these cookies up or down: shower with some sugar before baking, or decorate with nuts, colorful icing sugar or sprinkles or - my own personal favorite - keep them plain and sandwich them together with some store-bought strawberry jam just before serving. Delish!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cup cake flour (300 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heaped cup powdered sugar (150 g)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or an 8 g sachet)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (150 g)
  • ------
  • Strawberry preserve/jam

Preparation:

Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and break an egg into the well. Add the yolk of a second egg and keep back the egg white for later. Now add the powdered sugar, vanilla sugar and the salt.

Chop the butter into small pieces and add to the dry mix. Working quickly, knead the ingredients together until it forms a dough ball (you can also use a mixer with a dough hook attachment). Add a few drops of milk if the mixture is too crumbly.

Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 347 degrees F (175 degrees C). When your dough has rested, open up the plastic wrap flat on the counter, cover the dough ball with another large layer of plastic and press flat with your hands. You can now use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough between the two plastic sheets. You can, of course, also roll the dough out on a floured surface, but I always find this a bit messy. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick (1/2 cm).

Using a heart or circle shaped cookie cutter, cut out your cookies (and decorate, if desired). Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet, brush with egg white and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack and store in a cookie jar or airtight container.

For the strawberry jam version: Just before serving, smear the underside of the cookies with some store-bought strawberry jam (or homemade, if you're that way inclined) and press two cookies together. Great with coffee or tea.

Makes about 20 double cookies.

Tips:

  • In the Netherlands you can buy vanilla sugar (vanillesuiker) in 8g sachets. You can also make your own vanilla sugar by popping a vanilla pod into a container of sugar, shaking it and leaving it to infuse for a few days/weeks.
  • If you're kneading by hand and your hands are prone to being warm, run some cool water over your hands and then dry your hands before kneading the dough.
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