Sandbakkels are a traditional Norwegian holiday cookie made with a crumbly dough that resembles “sand,” thus the name. They’re also called sandbakelse or sandkaker, similarly translating to sand cookies. Sometimes tiny bit of almond flour in these cookies helps create just the right sandy texture, other times a tiny bit of almond extract is added just for flavor.
Traditional sandbakkel molds are used to create hollow cookie tarts. Sometimes they’re simple fluted round molds, and other times they’re more decorative shapes. Regardless the cookies are pressed into the mold to create a cup shape.
Start by creaming butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy. That helps give these cookies a bit of lift since there’s no baking powder added.
Add the flour and mix the dough until just combined.
Form the dough into balls and place each one in a sandbakkel tin.
Using your thumb, press out the dough thinly into the tin.
Even out the dough, creating a nice thin layer over the entire sandbakkel mold.
Bake the sandbakkels at 375 for about 12-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown and cooked through. Traditionally, the finished cookies are eaten as little tart shaped cookies. Practically speaking, they make excellent tart bottoms and they’re just begging to be filled. It’s up to you!
Sandbakkels (Norwegian Sugar Cookies)
These simple Norwegian sugar cookies are made special with a beautiful sandbakkel mold that creates decorative holiday cookie shapes.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees F.
- Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and almond extract and mix to combine.
- Add the flour and salt, stirring until just combined.
- Form dough into balls and place in sandbakkel tins. Press with your thumb until the dough is spread thinly on the tin.
- Bake at 375 F for 12 to 15 minutes.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of our favorite cookie recipes!
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- Norwegian Gingerbread
- Hazelnut Macaroons
- Grain-Free Maple Shortbread
- Dandelion Shortbread
I am truly in love with you…..I have the tins my grandmother brought over from Norway in the late 1890’s…and have been using them since Mom passed and I was awarded the tins, (my older sister wasn’t happy). I have always called them Sunbuckles..my Aunt used to visit Norway all the time, she was born over there about 1890…she never corrected my spelling of these amazing cookies…we made “Fatiman” not spelling those right either, seems I need to correct these…my daughter will get them next and then my granddaughter is after them…we make them together every year…these tins have never been washed…the crumbs are brushed out and stored in air tight container, until next year…thank you for the correct spelling…(thanks Aunt Lil..)
I am making them today. I have my mom’s tins from about 80 years ago. Using a conglomeration of recipes from her and several aunts, all of whom used cardomom in their recipes. Fattigman is next in my list.
How do you get them out of the tin?
Just flip the thin over and give it a gentle tap on the counter. They pop right out, or at least mine do.
Right out of oven or do they need to “sit” for a minute before unmolding. I always have trouble with them sticking.
I let them cool for a minute or two before popping them out.
Mine are not coming out of the tin. What am I doing wrong? I made them last year, but didn’t keep that recipe and they popped right out.
Hm, I’m not really sure what went wrong. Mine pop right out with a tap on my kitchen counter.
Don’t fill the tin so the dough goes over the edges.
Do you use the 4″ tins? We have the 3″ tins but are looking for the larger tins. Do you know where any of these large tins can be found? Thank you
You saved my Christmas! Every year, my adult children join my husband and me on Dec. 23 to make Sandbakkels, Krumkake and Spritz. I look forward to taking out the recipe cards in Mom’s or Grandma’s writing. Today I looked in the recipe box (and everywhere!) but couldn’t find them. I’ve been bereft. So I looked on line and I think this is precisely like Grandma’s! My story is exactly like Sally Taylor’s (I wish we could meet). I also “.have the tins my grandmother brought over from Norway in the late 1890’s…and have been using them since Mom passed and I was awarded the tins, (my cousin wasn’t happy).” “we make them together every year…these tins have never been washed” Thank you to Ashley and to Sally for this connection. We live in Oregon and don’t know many Scandinavians. I’ve misplaced the recipes this year but am determined to find them in 2020!
I’m going to have to get some of these tins. Any suggestions? I’ll hunt around. Also does anyone fill these or just enjoy plain. Thanks in advance,and Merry Christmas !
You can definitely fill them with anything your heart desires! Merry belated Christmas!
You can find these at most Scandinavian gift shops as well as William sonoma:) I know u posted awhile ago but thought may help others too.
My mom made these when we were little and I remember she’d fill with cherry pie filling and whipped cream before serving.
That sounds delicious!
I have never made these cookies, the tins are from my fathers side., but I do remember eating them. I just inherited them recently. When looking at the tins I was surprised to see crumbs, so yes I washed them. I didn’t know… oh well, I hope when I do make the cookies they turn out delishes.
I love eating these cookies but hate making them. I heard there is a pree that makes shaping them in the tins easier. Any idea where I could find such an item?
Sorry, I’m not sure about a press. I’ve only used the molds in the pictures.
Jan Hanson (Norwegian by Marriage)
It is nearly blasphemy to put almond extract in Sandbakkels!!! Traditional Norwegian Sandbakkels contain only CARDAMOM as the spice. Big difference! To all who love these traditional Norwegian delicacies, please try making them using 1/2 – 1 tsp. Cardamon. The other difference with my Norwegian Mother in law’s recipe is 3/4 c sugar and 1/4 c. powdered sugar and 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup Crisco (which gives crispy texture). Lastly she believes 2 1/3 cup flour is enough.
Jan: I also grew up with the cardamom flavor. I added a bit of vanilla too, as added by my grandmother in 1966. My tins look to be 1890’s also but not sure how old. I recently took over when my mom died. She and Grandma made them every year!
Also blasphemy to put crisco in and not all butter😊
These were great! My not particularly baking savvy kids mixed these and molded these all on their own once frying rosettes proved more of a distraction than I planned (apparently I’m not so baking savvy either). Ours came out of our brand new Norpro tins well (except the smallest rounds which were tricky), we just inverted the tins and gave them a little squeeze and popped the cookie out. Thanks for the recipe!
The recipe on a “Made in Sweden” box of tartlet tins calls for 1 cup of raw, peeled almond, ground plus “bittermandlar.” or bitter almond. We’ve always used a few drops of almond extract. Butter those tart tins so the cookie comes out!
I just now finished a batch using tins I have had for over 60 years – three different shapes: the traditional tart, a heart shape, and a star shape, five of each. My ancestors and wife’s ancestors came from Norway, my grandmother when she was 17. She made them all the time and every time we visited that is the first thing we asked for. I have made them with vanilla, my kids favorite; almond extract, my favorite; but never tried cardamom. I will try that next time. I make a “Norwegian” white bread with cardamom and it is great.
I have had these flutes molds for some time and never used them. Decided to bake cookies from around the world this Christmas so I’m going to give them a try and use the cardamom as suggested. If filled, what would go with cardamom? I’ve never used that either!
Love reading these comments, My sister and I were just messaging about the difficulty of getting them out of the tin! I just bought some nonstick tins from a shop called Uffda in Redwing Minnesota. We’ll see!
I had some and shared the tins that were given away by mistake. They belonged to my Grandmother. I was able to find some on Amazon.
The recipes sound delicious 😋
Hello! Can the dough be made ahead of time and refrigerated, or should it be made just before baking? If so, how far in advance do you recommend?
You could definitely make this in advance and refrigerate it. You may need to let the dough come back to room temperature so it’s pliable before you shape it into the tins though. I would guess that you could make 3 to 5 days in advance without an issue. (They also do well baked in advance and stored in an air-tight tin.)