December 4: Italian Sand Cookies

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest, but wasn’t going to make it. I liked reading about the search to get this “secret” recipe right, and it brought back memories of also getting this cookie in bakeries over my lifetime. (Note: I have yet to meet a bakery I didn’t like.)

But this recipe was like an ear-worm, only it was in my brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about it–remembering the cookie myself, and then the blogger’s quest to find the recipe. It’s something I can understand doing (To this day, I fantasize about a cookie I had a few years ago and can’t find the recipe. I’m sure one of these days I’m just going to try to figure it out for myself.)

You may have eaten these in the past, too. When I was a kid, they were in the top shelf of the display at Kings’ Bakery, in the tray closest to the front. They aren’t anything fancy, but boy were they good. The ones they had came with some rainbow sprinkles on them.

So, the good people (or person..I think it’s just one fabulous lady) at Chef Tess Bakeresse went in search of the recipe. There’s a whole post devoted to the mission at http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/2010/06/evil-italian-butter-cookies.html and it really is adorable.

"Creaming method" adding of the flour.

“Creaming method” adding of the flour.

I love how the instructions are simply “creaming method,” as if it’s saying “if you don’t know what we mean, then you probably should stick with ready-made cookies.” It’s just an easy way to say mix the butter, shortening, and sugar together, then add the vanilla and eggs, and then finally the rest of the ingredients.

(I will say though that my dough was a little to sticky when I followed the recipe. I could have chilled it, but instead I added a little more flour–about another 1/3 c. In hindsight, it probably could have been a little less, but they turned out just fine.)

Once that is done, you get out a big star tip and a pastry bag, and fill it with the dough. Pastry bags are nothing to fear. It’s just a matter of getting the right tip with the right consistency of dough. And, like this recipe, most of the time it will tell you which one to use.

My tasty little Italian babies, all ready for the oven.

My tasty little Italian babies, all ready for the oven.

I piped circles on the parchment paper and filled them in. There are two schools of thought on this…either go from the inside out, or the outside in. Either way, they will taste the same, so do whatever makes you happy.

After they came out of the oven and cooled, my kids were home from school. And of course, I had a little helper. After I melted the chocolate chips (with just a little bit of coconut oil for consistency reasons), Mini Me informed me she was the official sprinkle-putter-onner. That lasted for one tray of cookies. She abandoned me for Sofia the First, and I had to sadly finish the cookies myself.

A simple recipe that tastes like a million bucks!

A simple recipe that tastes like a million bucks!

I let the cookies dry on wax paper, but then decided to speed up the process by throwing the cookies (stilon wax paper, now back on cookie sheets) into the freezer for 10 minutes.

After trying one, Disgruntled Husband had a look of shock on his face and said, “These are REALLY good.”

(Thanks for the vote of confidence, dear.)

The (much shorter) video about said recipe:

 SAND COOKIES

(from www.cheftessbakeresse.com)

1 1/2 cups flour (we used AP)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar *
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
*(we also liked 3/4 c. conf sugar & 1/4 c. granulated which made them a slight bit sweeter)

Creaming method. Put through bag with large star tip. Bake @ 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Decorate with choc chips, sprinkles or leave plain and dip half in melted choc., etc.

Cookies today: 37

Cookies this year: 230

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