These cookies were meant to be on the blog two long years ago, but for two years in a row I forgot to post them during Christmastime, which I felt needed to be done. If you haven’t heard of sandies before, they also go by “mexican wedding cookies” and “snowball cookies”, which I find extremely confusing since all of these sound very different. It’s the snowball thing that made me feel like these HAD to show up around the holidays, despite the fact that I make mine look less like snowballs and more like little hockey pucks covered in snow. Annnnnd that’s probably not the best way to describe a cookie (I promise these are anything but hockey pucks in everything but shape!), but those are the first words that came to me and therefore they’ll have to work. <—— Mostly because my brain is everywhere right now and I’m just glad I can come up with a string of words that form an actual sentence.
Regardless of what name you want to give them, let’s talk about taste. Sandies are these unique little cookies; they’re usually made with powdered sugar and pecans (and no leavener), which makes them dense but soft and sort of melt-in-your-mouth. I like to add a little bit of cream cheese in place of some of the butter to lighten the cookies up a bit and add another layer of flavor, and a touch of almond extract (alwaysss a good thing) complements all the nuttiness going on here. They’re not very sweet at all despite the fact that they’re dusted in powdered sugar, which makes it a nice change for a cookie – just a little something light to go with coffee or tea. This is one of those rare circumstances where I’m actually advocating cookies with nuts, so KNOW that they’re good. :)
These one-bowl, slice and bake cookies are lightly sweet and flavored with toasty bits of pecan and a touch of almond extract.
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup or 12 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 8 1/2 ounces (2 cups, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted and ground*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted and chopped
- extra confectioner's sugar, for dusting
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl using a handheld electric mixer), cream together the butter, cream cheese, and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour, ground pecans, and salt and mix in at lowest speed just until evenly combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half in a sheet of parchment to form a 10" log with an even diameter throughout. Transfer each to a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and place on a plate or tray to freeze until firm (and until ready to bake).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400ºF. Meanwhile, remove dough from freezer, unwrap, and slice each log into 16 equal pieces. Spread out between the two prepared baking sheets.
- Bake cookies in preheated oven for 9-10 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through time. Cookies are done when the tops no longer look wet; they should not brown. Cool on pans for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, dust tops and sides of cookies with confectioner's sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days, or in the fridge for longer storage.
*To toast pecans, spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350ºF for about 10 minutes, until fragrant. For the ground pecans, grind them with a mortar and pestle to small bits.
Adapted from a family recipe