Sandies: a secret family recipe (sorry Mum)


The first eighteen months of my life were spent in America. Along with a batch of sunny baby photos and dual nationality, one of the things that came back with us from the West Coast was a recipe for 'Sandies' - melt in the mouth shortbread cookies rolled in icing sugar. These tempting treats are synonymous with Christmas in our house. They are never made at any other time of the year and, to our family, they are more festive than mince pies (and disappear in half the time). The recipe never varies (one year Mum added chocolate chips instead of walnuts and there was almost a mutiny) although the Americans seem to favour pecans over walnuts.

Last year, a lot of my Christmas gifts included a batch of Sandies and I have been asked repeatedly for the recipe. If you didn't get any, I apologise (maybe you will this year?!?), but at least now you can make your own:

Ingredients: (makes about 40)

225g butter

75g sugar

2 tsp water

2 tsp vanilla essence

250g sifted plain flour

120g chopped walnuts

Icing sugar


1. Put the oven on at 180.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add the liquids and mix.

4. Add the flour and nuts and mix to form a dough.

5. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours if you can wait that long. I never can.

6. Roll into small balls (about the size of the big marbles that you always wanted to win when you were a kid) and place on the baking tray.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes.

8. When the Sandies have cooled but are still warm, roll them in icing sugar so that it coats each biscuit and melts a little.

9. Hide them or they will disappear in no time.


I'd also like to point out that I did actually ask permission from my mum before I posted this.