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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

Grandma Groff's Sand tarts

Download the recipe at the bottom of the page.

One of my dearest Christmas memories is making sand tarts with my maternal grandmother. Every year, Grandma Groff hosted a sleep over for me where she made all of my favorite foods, indulged all of my wishes, and baked these special cookies with me. Now, my mom continues the tradition with my son.

Sand tarts

Sand Tarts are a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty. These thin, crispy cookies are brushed with an egg wash for a high gloss sheen and covered in colorful sanding sugar and sprinkles. You can use any cookie cutters you like - whatever makes you happy!

boy making cookies

Along with the cookie cutters I've collected over the years, I am fortunate enough to have my grandma's original cutters. The star is my absolute favorite. Every time I use these, it brings back memories of sitting at her kitchen island with a big sheet of cookies and a wide array of decorations - chopped peanuts, raisins, silver candy pearls, and a rainbow assortment of sanding sugars.

cookie cutters

These are the perfect cookies to make with your kids. Let them help roll the dough and stamp out the shapes. Give them creative liberty to go crazy with whatever decorations they like! And one batch of dough makes about 4-5 dozen cookies, so they are perfect for sharing!

Sand tarts

Grandma Groff’s Sand Tarts


· 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

· 3 ¾ C confectioner sugar

· 4 eggs

· 4 C flour

· 1 egg white for egg wash

· Sanding sugars, sprinkles, and other cookie decorations

baking ingredients


1. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth.

2. Slowly add in the eggs and then the flour, one cup at a time.

mixing bowl of cookie dough

3. Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (makes it easier to roll).

chilled wrapped cookie dough

4. Preheat the oven to 375.

5. Cut the dough ball into thirds. On a floured surface, roll out one ball of dough with a rolling pin until very thin. Keep the other 2 balls refrigerated until ready to use.

rolling cookie dough

6. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutter shapes.

christmas cookie cut outs

7. Gently transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

christmas cookies

Brush lightly with egg wash (egg white mixed with 1 T water) and decorate with colored sugars and sprinkles.

Sand tarts

*note* There are a few embossed cookies pictured here, but overall, using an embossing rolling pin was not successful with this dough.

Bake until light golden in color (about 6-8 minutes)

Sand tarts

Do you have a special recipe from the region where you grew up? I'd love to know! And I hope you get to make these! They might just become your new favorite holiday tradition!

xoxo, L

Grandma Groffs Sand Tarts
Download PDF • 37KB

For other delicious Christmas cookie recipes,

check out these posts:

For more favorite holiday traditions,

check out these posts:

Also, thank you to my sweet friend, Jan, for helping us with our sand tarts and being my hand model!!!


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