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Sand Tarts Recipe

Sand tarts are one of those holiday cookies that everyone loves and can’t get enough of.

They have been around since at least 1834, when it was first documented as part of an English Christmas tradition.

What Is The Origin Of Sand Tarts?

The exact origins of sand tarts are unknown, but there are several theories on how they got their name.

One theory suggests that people would mix sand from beaches into dough to make them more flavorful.

This mixture could then be baked onto a flat surface like a pie plate or baking sheet.

The final product resembled a tart.

Another theory says that the name comes from sand being used to create a sandy texture inside the cookie.

Sand is also known to help absorb moisture, making it ideal for keeping items dry and soft.

What Is The Main Ingredient In Sand Tarts?

The main ingredients in sand tarts are flour (both all-purpose and cake), butter or shortening, baking powder, salt, and water.

The dough is rolled out on a floured surface into circles about 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes using a small round cutter.

These rounds can then be baked until golden brown to make them crispy.

Some people also add raisins or other dried fruit to give them more flavor.

If you want, you can roll up the edges of your sand tart before cutting so they remain flat after being baked.

You may also choose to sprinkle powdered sugar over top once they come out of the oven.

How Are Sand Tarts Made?

The basic ingredients of sand tarts include butter, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, and powdered sugar.

The dough is then rolled out on a floured surface until it reaches about 1/4 inch thick.

Cut shapes into the dough using small round cutters or a drinking glass to create circles.

Place the circles onto a greased cookie sheet or a parchment-lined pan, depending on what you use, and bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Next, melt your chocolate chips by placing them in a microwave safe bowl and heating them up in 20 second increments while stirring between each time until they reach room temperature.

Once the chocolate has melted pour it over the tops of the baked pieces of dough and allow it to harden before sprinkling more powdered sugar on top.

If you want to add nuts to your sand tart, place them on the cooled cookie after pouring the chocolate mixture on top.

To make this process easier, use a toothpick to stick the nuts on so they won’t fall off during transportation.

What Is The History Of Sand Tarts?

It wasn’t until 1834 that we started to see sand tarts appear on menus across England.

The exact origins of these treats are unknown, but there are many theories about how they got their start.

One story says that sand tarts were originally created by a baker who accidentally dropped his dough into a bowl full of sand instead of flour.

As he baked them, the sticky dough stuck to the sides of the bowl and eventually formed little crusts on top.

Another version states that the sand tart came from a bakery owner named William Sanderson.

He had a problem with his oven not baking properly, so he decided to add sand to the dough in order to make sure the cookies would bake evenly.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work out, but the idea caught on, and now every year people celebrate the holiday season by making sand tarts.

How Did Sand Tarts Get Their Name?

The original version of this traditional holiday cookie comes from England, where they were called “sand cakes.”

The word “cake” means something sweet or tasty to us today, but back then, cakes were more like biscuits.

Sand cakes were made by mixing flour, salt, butter, eggs, milk, and baking powder into a dough and rolling it out until very thin.

Then, the dough would be cut into rounds and baked on top of a grate set over hot coals.

When you bite into these crispy little treats, you will notice that they taste almost like shortbread cookies, which makes sense because both recipes include similar ingredients.

Since there wasn’t much other food available during winter, people relied heavily on what could be preserved through drying methods.

And so, we find ourselves enjoying this delicious treat year round!

What Are Some Popular Variations Of Sand Tarts?

The most common variation of this classic holiday cookie is to make them into cupcakes.

These are available on Pinterest under the hashtag #cupcakecookie or #cuppacookie.

You could also bake them into brownies or muffins.

There are many different recipes you can use to create your own version of these delicious treats.

Here are just a few examples:

Chocolate Cupcakes

This chocolate cupcake version uses dark chocolate instead of white chocolate.

The recipe includes four eggs, but if you want to save time, check out our guide on how to make egg-free chocolate chip cookies to learn how to make a batch without using any eggs!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These red velvet cupcakes include cocoa powder so they will taste like traditional red velvet cake.

If you don’t care about keeping them vegan, try adding 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract before blending everything together.

White Chocolate Lemon Sand Tarts

If you prefer something light and refreshing, consider making lemon sand tarts instead of white chocolate ones.

For this recipe, you need to start by creaming butter and shortening until fluffy.

Then add powdered sugar and mix well.

Next, beat in two eggs, then stir in lemon zest and juice.

Finally, fold in flour mixture, followed by melted white chocolate chips.

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroon dough is typically used to make coconut macaroons, which are often topped with sprinkles, candy, or other decorations.

A typical macaron recipe calls for three cups of all-purpose flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, half teaspoon salt, six tablespoons granulated sugar, five ounces of unsalted butter (soft), and one large egg yolk.

Once mixed, you must chill the batter for several hours before rolling it out onto parchment paper and cutting shapes.

Peanut Butter Cookies

For peanut butter lovers who aren’t looking for a sweet treat, there’s always homemade peanut butter cookies.

To make these, you’ll need to roll out cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper, cut them into circles, place them on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake them for 10 minutes at 375 F degrees.

After cooling, spread the bottom side of each circle with softened cream cheese and top with chopped peanuts.

What Are Some Common Toppings For Sand Tarts?

Sand tarts may come topped or plain.

Topped versions often include nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, candied fruit, or dried fruits such as cranberries or cherries.

Plain ones usually use only icing to top them off.

Nut topping

Topping your sand tart with a nut adds a lot of flavor and crunch.

The most common type of nut used is pecans, but walnuts and almonds also work well.

Chocolate chip topping

Using this topping gives you just what you need for a sweet treat.

Chocolate chips make a great addition to any dessert because they add depth and sweetness without being too heavy.

Coconut flakes topping

The combination of sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut makes these little treats irresistible.

You can find them both premade in cake mixes, so all you have to do is follow the directions on the box.

Candied fruit topping

This topping brings out the flavors of whatever kind of fruit you choose.

If you like apples, try using apple slices instead of raisins.

For citrus lovers, oranges and mandarins are excellent choices.

Dried fruit topping

If you want something more substantial than the other options, dried fruit is a good choice.

Dates are particularly delicious, but apricots, figs, and prunes are all tasty alternatives.

How Should Sand Tarts Be Stored?

You will want to store your sand tarts in airtight containers or plastic bags so they do not dry out.

These cookies are best eaten within two weeks after baking them but you may eat them up to four months later if necessary.

How Long Do Sand Tarts Last?

For this recipe, you will need to chill your dough before baking.

If you don’t plan on making these ahead of time, then they may only keep up to five days after being baked.

However, if you want them to last longer than that or just prefer fresh-baked goods, try freezing the unfrosted ones.

You can freeze them for four months or more without any loss of quality.

When removing them from the freezer, allow them to thaw completely so they aren’t too hard.

Then use a fork to gently break apart the frozen pieces.

Once they are ready, store them in airtight containers until needed.

To make sure they stay crisp, place them back into the refrigerator immediately upon removal.

How to frost sand tarts

Before frosting your sand tarts, prepare all of your ingredients. In addition to butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, add food coloring (if desired) and sprinkles.

Using a spoon, mix everything together to create a smooth paste.

Use a spatula to spread the frosting onto each individual piece of sand tart dough.

Try not to overdo it because once the icing gets thicker, it tends to stick to the pan instead of spreading out evenly.

If you would like to add additional colors, you can tint the frosting by adding drops of liquid color.

Just stir in the powder using a spoon.

Make sure to thoroughly cover every surface area of the cookie, including the sides, top, bottom, and edges.

Allow the frosting to dry completely before placing the sand tarts on a wire rack.

What Are Some Serving Suggestions For Sand Tarts?

Sand tarts are best served warm out of the oven.

But they also make great after-dinner snacks or dessert treats.

Sand Tarts Recipe

Sand tarts are one of those holiday cookies that everyone loves and can’t get enough of.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sand Tarts Recipe
Servings: 3
Calories: 1099kcal


  • The Oven


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted


  • Set the oven’s temperature to 325.
  • Cream 1/4 cup powdered sugar and butter in a stand mixer. Mix the flour and pecans on low speed until combined.
  • Place dough on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat after rolling it into little balls approximately the size of a walnut. For 30 minutes, bake.
  • Roll warm cookies in a basin of powdered sugar that has been sifted. Roll cookies once more in powdered sugar after they have cooled. In an airtight container, store.



Calories: 1099kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 90g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1911IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 4mg
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