Thursday, 17 March 2016

A sandy star is born

Everything is better in a star shape. This is a universal truth. Actually when I was dipping the raw dough cut-outs of 'The Dutch' Pecan Sandies* in sugar and cinnamon, they resembled starfish more than stars. Which incidentally are pretty life-affirming themselves, in a blobby kind of way. 

And I don't know if it was all the influence of the shape but these biscuits really are stars. They're delicately crunchy, very sandy, nutty flavoured and perfumed with cinnamon and a mix of sugars. They got a thumbs up all round from my taste-testers. A definite hit.

I was busy telling my colleague that they weren't very difficult to make at all, and then I started to say, 'well except for the beurre noisette (that takes aaaages) and then mixing is quick but you need to leave it in the fridge, then roll it out, then refrigerate, then cut, then refrigerate, then dip....'. Hmmmm difficult really is a relative term. If you've ever made a 9-pages-of-instructions, behemoth cheesecake, cake and buttercream extravaganza then starry biscuits are somewhat of a doddle in comparison.

*I suspect biscuit marketers would have something to say about that name, it doesn't exactly roll off the page. 

I was wishing we had smellovision when I mixed the three sugars (white sugar, brown sugar and golden sugar) with vanilla essence, so you could all experience the aroma, which was unbelievably delicious. I spent the time while I was waiting for the brown butter to cool, hanging out next to the bowl of delicious sugary scents.

I actually made my biscuits with walnuts rather than pecans. I have a big bag (now slightly smaller) which I bought for another Alpha Baker project. Everything is going to be walnut until I get that thing finished. The nutty flavour was delicious so it seemed to be a happy substitution.

I had seen biscuits called 'sandies' before in North American recipes but I didn't know what they were exactly. There's no mystery once you taste one - they are gritty like a mouthful of sand except sweeter and tastier. The texture is intriguing if you haven't tried it before. I didn't have time to google but I'm wondering if they're related to the Spanish polverones which literally 'pulverise' when you bite into them? I always thought they were more shortbread-ish. Whatever they are, they taste great. Probably even if they're round.

Next week the Alpha Bakers are making Babka.


  1. You've described these cookies so well. I love the word gritty. Great description of this Sandie. I've had Sandies that are like fine white sand, but these were gritty like you say. And smell-o-luscious! Made me laugh. At first I pulled out my piggy cookie cutter, thinking these cookies would be piggy good, but the dough was too rough for the cutter and I had to re-roll and use the round cutter. Anyway, nice post.

  2. "somewhat of a doddle in comparison." Ha! Funny how our perceptions have changed; couldn't agree with you more. Using walnuts was a brilliant idea, like those Greek cookies rolled in powdered sugar we made. I'm going to make a note of that. Love the star shapes.

  3. great idea to use a star shape cutter! these are very delicious!

  4. I love the star shape! It is funny how any recipe not 9 pages long now seems pretty darn easy.

  5. I'm impressed you got the cookies to stay whole as stars. Mine were round and they still crumbled when I touched them.

  6. i've GOT to make these again. i almost forgot how much i love them. and love the stars.....