Dutch sugar cookies: Zandkoekjes

zandkoekjesI guess we call them “zandkoekjes“, because they’re crispy and crunchy like sand. The American version tends to be a softer cookie, but I like crispy cookies better and everyone I served the “zandkoekjes” absolutely LOVED them.

It’s December, the busiest holiday season of the year and  I thought it would be nice to do a series of holiday baking, so here is Part One.

I found this recipe more than 20 years ago in a Dutch magazine and used it many times. It’s a guaranteed success! It’s so easy to make, an 8-year old can make them, as long as an adult handles the oven.

If you want to do some simple holiday baking, roll up your sleeves, get out the flour and have fun baking these on your own, or with the help of your kids or grandkids, they’ll never forget the experience!  🙂


200 gram flour (I use nonbleached)

150 gram butter (or margarine), softened

100 gram white sugar

1 egg (or yolk)


Optional for decorating:

  • powdered sugar
  • lemon or other fruit juice
  • foodcoloring
  • raisins or nuts


  1. Preheat oven at 325 degrees F.
  2. Mix the butter with sugar and gradually add flour, kneading with your hands until you can form a smooth ball that is not crumbly.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Take out the dough, sprinkle some flour on a clean surface to roll out the dough (in parts) to 1/2 cm thick.
  5. Cut out your cookies and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Beat the egg (or yolk) with vanilla and brush the cookies with the mixture before baking.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, making sure to check that the cookies brown, but without burning. Use a timer!

Cookies can also be baked without egg on it, in case people have allergies. Either way, they are ready to serve, although they’ll look quite boring.

This can be easily fixed by making some icing with powdered sugar and lemon juice, berry juice, or any other liquid (with/without color). You will only need a few drops so the cookies can be painted with a brush.

Other decorating options are to add raisins or nuts before baking.


  • Use a large cutting board, covered with waxed paper and some flour to roll the dough.
  • Cover the dough with waxed paper to prevent it from sticking to your roller.
  • I also use waxed paper on the cookie sheet, without greasing it. Makes lifting the cookies off the sheet so much easier.

Can you tell that I love using waxed paper? One of the things I learned from my Mom 🙂