It’s always fun to add a little unexpected whimsy to a dinner menu. In this case, we’ve created homemade cookies in the likeness of sand dollars (you have to have a little imagination here), those delicate shells you’ve no doubt seen on the beach on one of your southern trips. These are buttery cookies that are simply rolled and flattened, so there’s no need to fret over cutting out unbaked dough. Let a bowl of light brown sugar be your “shore sand” stand-in and randomly scatter the cookies over top. No matter what shape yours take, they’re sure to spark conversation and bring out the cookie monster in all of us.
1½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract or 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract and 1 tsp (5 mL) almond or maple extract
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar (optional)
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon (optional)
½ cup (125 mL) slivered or sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray or oil. Measure flour into a small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and baking soda. Stir to evenly distribute. In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon or mixer to beat butter with sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until evenly mixed. Stir in flour mixture just until no white streaks remain.
Scoop up about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of dough. Using well-floured hands, roll into a ball about 1 inch ( 2.5 cm) wide. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat, placing them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Dip the flat bottom of a wide glass in flour. Shake off the excess flour and press down on the cookies until they are no more than ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. To create a natural looking uneven edge, dip the end of a knife or chopstick into flour and make several indents, about ¼ inch (5 mm) deep, in the edge of each cookie. Using floured fingers gently tap down cookies to even out their thickness. Stir sugar with cinnamon (if desired) and lightly sprinkle over cookies. Press 5 slivered almonds in a spoke design around the center of each cookie.
4. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Use a spatula to remove cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Cooled cookies stored in a sealed container at room temperature will keep well at least 4 days.
Makes 24 cookies
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