Classic German Sandkeks, a hazelnut shortbread cookie with a sandy vanilla sugar coating were set out in the afternoon on Christmas Eve ... Santa had a chance to grab a few before dropping off the loot! The rest, we have been nibbling with cups of coffee and tea. These cookies are a perfect crumbling shortbread - not overly sweet except for the sandy outer sugar layer.
I learned to make them when SB and I lived in Germany for a bit. I got the recipe from a German Weihnachten cook book and made them for the kids when they all flew over to sprend Christmas with us in Baden-Württemberg. The recipe is as I worked with it from the German cook book except that I have added the maple extract drops ... the maple and hazelnut flavours complement each other perfectly. I apologize for the metric measurements. For the folks who don't have food scales, I can only encourage you to get one. It will open a whole new world of recipes. No more headaches doing the conversions to standard measurement!
At any rate, these cookies have become a favorite Christmas treat. They are such a nice reminder of that special time that we spent in Europe. I hope you enjoy them!
250 g. unsalted butter125 g. granulated sugar
125 g. ground hazelnuts350 g. all-purpose flour
1 small package vanilla sugar (approx. 1 tbsp.)
4 – 6 drops maple extract
Mix the dough, tossing and pressing it until a dough ball forms.
Add, a drop at a time. Mix until all the shaggy and loose flour is completely incorporated into the dough ball. You may or may not use all the water.
Divide the dough into two equal amounts.
Place them in the center of two large pieces of plastic wrap and use the plastic wrap to compress them into logs that are smooth, uniform, and about 5 cm. in diameter.
Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 150°C ( 300° F).
Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.
Using a sharp bread knife and a sawing motion, slice the logs into 1 cm thick rounds.
Place the rounds close, but not touching on the cookie sheets and place them in the center of the pre-heated oven.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies are just barely golden brown at the edges.
Make a sugar coating mixture with:
50 g. granulated sugar1 small package vanilla sugar
Remove the baked cookies from the oven and cool a few minutes before dipping the tops in the sugar mixture.
Place the cookies in a single layer on platters to set up, then layer between waxed or parchment paper in tins that can be tightly sealed.