It’s a coastal tradition to deck the halls with beach treasures.
It seems I’ve got a sand dollar theme around here. You might remember this sand dollar wreath I made last year. I hoped it would last, so I stored it in bubble wrap on a closet shelf. I had my fingers crossed when I unwrapped it this year. None of the sand dollars were broken. Yay!
This year I made cookies to match. You may have seen my experiments with this on my Instagram story last week. I had fun with it, and a lot of people asked for the recipe or requested a sample. I know whenever a recipe gets the approval of the tea gals at TeBella, I’m on to something good.
I wanted a sand dollar design, but I didn’t want regular old sugar cookies. I landed on a cookie dough recipe made with tahini. I love that sesame flavor, and I knew it would give them a crumbly texture reminiscent of the beach. It was designed to be a drop-cookie dough, but I decided to try rolling it out so I could get some nice round sand dollars that were flat and smooth. It worked like a charm.
Next, I experimented with the sand dollar pattern. I loved the look of the sliced almonds in a 5-petal flower design in the center (3 work fine, too). But that alone didn’t make them look enough like a sand dollar. I used a straw to cut out 3 or 5 tiny holes around the outer edge, which looked much like actual sand dollars, but it was tedious after a dozen cookies. If you’re more of a cookier than me, go for it. I settled on 3 simple slits in the sides made with a skewer. They’re unmistakably sand dollars, but you can make quick work of them.
A showering of citrus-spiked sugar makes them look just-plucked from the shoreline, and the combo of tahini and citrus is just divine.
No matter where you are, these give all the coastal Christmas vibes.
Sand Dollar Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup tahini
- sliced almonds, for garnish
- 2-3 tablespoons citrus sugar*
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in tahini, then add dry ingredients in 2 batches, beating after each addition until fully combined. Dough will be slightly sticky. Divide in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten them into a disc. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
- Sprinkle flour on rolling pin and surface. Roll the dough, adding flour as necessary, until it’s 1/4-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out as many rounds as possible. Re-roll the scraps and repeat with remaining dough.
- Transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I bake 5-6 at a time. Place 3-5 sliced almonds in the center in a flower pattern. Use a skewer to make 3 small slits on the outer edges.
- Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, turning halfway and watching closely during the last couple minutes. You want them lightly golden, but not too dark because they won’t look as much like sand dollars.
- Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before sliding the parchment onto the counter or wire racks.
- Once completely cool, store in air-tight containers and give them to friends.
*to make citrus-spiked sugar, stir the the zest of an orange into natural sugar or turbinado and allow it to sit overnight before using.
adapted from Bon Appetit tahini cookies.