Sand Dollar Cookies

A sweet and spiced sugar cookie that will bring you to the beach. Simple pleasures… that’s what this cookie is all about!

Sun on our faces, balmy breezes, family time, and sweet treats. Nothing beats beach time in the Florida springtime!

Forty years later I can still feel that excitement of reaching down beneath the water into the sand and picking up a live sand dollar. Sunny days on Anna Maria Island were filled with magic when I was growing up, and I bet you might feel the same way about your favorite sandy shoreline, wherever it may be.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting recipe for right now. The official beginning of spring is this weekend, and the long, light-filled days bring me hope and happiness. These sand dollar cookies remind me of the brightness of this new season. I can’t wait for my next beach day!!!! But until then…

Sand Dollar Cookies stacked on a plate

At its core, this cookie is what’s known as a snickerdoodle. A buttery, sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon and simply decorated with five sliced almonds. When it bakes up – with it’s perfect combination of crispy edges with a soft, chewy middle – the almonds spread out mimicking that most elusive sea creature. So cute, so fun, and so yum!

Bake up a batch and bask in the glow:)

Sand Dollar Cookies stacked on a blue background

Any Tips or Tricks for the Sand Dollar Cookies?

  • If you don’t have a medium ice cream scoop, use a spoon to scoop the dough, then roll it into a ball with your hands. Make sure they are all around the same size for even baking.
  • To get the almonds to stick on the top, flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand and place the almonds close together on the top. They will spread out during baking.
  • If you want a more “pure” sand dollar look, omit the cinnamon. (This will yield a sugar cookie, rather than a snickerdoodle.) I don’t mind that the cookies have a little tan color to them due to the cinnamon and enjoy the flavor it brings, but leaving it out will make them more of a light, sandy color.
  • Be sure to carefully measure your flour using the scoop and level method. That means, scooping your flour gently into the measuring cup and leveling it with the flat side of a knife. Too much flour will result in a dense cookie.

Sand Dollar Cookies stacked on a plate

Any Substitutions or Additions?

  • Slivered almonds could be used instead of sliced, which will give a slightly different look, but a similar sand dollar effect. The recipe calls for more almonds than you need, but oftentimes the slices are imperfect, so it’s good to have extra.

Sand Dollar Cookies stacked on a plate

Can I Halve the Recipe?

  • Yes. If you don’t NEED 2 dozen cookies, the proportions are easily halved. The flour is the only tricky conversion – half of 2 ¾ is 1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons.

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Sand Dollar Cookies stacked on a blue background
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Sand Dollar Cookies

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill Dough2 hrs
Servings: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (330 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar (250 grams)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed (50 grams)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For rolling and decorating the cookies:

  • ¼ cup sugar (50 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced almonds you will not need all of them

Instructions

  • Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the bowl down, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to a day.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine the ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Use a medium (1 ½ inch) ice cream scoop to form balls of dough, rolling them in the cinnamon sugar before placing them on the cookie sheet two inches apart. Press 5 almonds into the top of the cookie as close to the center as you can. You want the almonds almost touching so they have the right placement when the cookies spread as they bake.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and check them for doneness. You don’t want the cookies to brown, but they should be set in the center. Return to the oven and bake for another 2-4 minutes if they are not done. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining cookies.

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