Sandbakkels (2)

After living in Europe for over 8 years I learned that when someone asks you where your family is from, you say America.  To say Germany or Iceland or wherever, they take it quite literally.  Totally different from what we mean in the states. America is such a melting pot and very few of us are truly native Americans, so when we ask “where is your family from?”, we mean “what is your heritage?”. Heritage to Americans equals traditions, and the holidays really bring out the traditions in all of us.


My heritage on my dad side is German, if you were to look at me, you would not disagree.  I’ve turned into a nice stocky frau.  On my mom’s side I’m an amalgam of Scandinavia: Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish and Swedish.  I grew up with the smell of lutefisk and a whole lot of ya’s.  Around Christmas time my Great Grandma Emma would turn out hundreds of lefse rounds and dozens of Sandbakkels.  I never learned how to make them myself but I remember how excited I was to see them at Christmas time, I never thought I’d have a Christmas without them.  But I did, my great grandmother passed away (well into her 90’s) and with her so did lefse and sandbakkels.

My mother tried to keep some of the tradition alive by making lutefisk, honestly I wished she’d would have let that one die.  Lutefisk is a white fish that is soaked in lye for days, washed and then boiled.  It’s stinky, gelatinous mass was served under a white sauce that I can only guess was meant to disguise it’s looks and try to make it more palatable.  Oh why didn’t she make the wonderful potato tortillas known as lefse, so I could butter them and spread them with brown sugar and roll them up to eat?  She could have made sandbakkels, the Norwegian version of a short bread cookie, only better because you can fill them with wonderful things like jam, or lemon curd or Nutella?

No way, my mother chose lutefisk.  As much as I love traditions I decided to put a halt to that tradition and stick with the sweeter side and try my hand at sandbakkels. The ingredient list is short and the dough is easy, but they do require a special tin, called (oddly enough) sandbakkel tins.  The tins traditionally come in four shapes and have fluted edges.  You can purchase them at specialty stores or online.

Sandbakkels (3)

I sprayed my tins with Bakers Joy because I was terrified that they would stick and end up in a crumbled mess.  I just knew my Great Grandma was watching me and I didn’t want to disappoint her.

Sandbakkels (4)

I was a good little baker and I creamed my butters and sugar first.

Sandbakkels (5)Sandbakkels (6)

Continuing to be a good baker and follow the rules (remember GG Emma is watching), I then added the egg, vanilla and salt.

Sandbakkels (7)Sandbakkels (8)

Then like a bad food blogger, I didn’t photograph adding the flour one cup at a time and mixing it in.  Thank goodness GG Emma doesn’t care if I’m a good food blogger.

Next take about 1 1/2 tbsp. dough and press it into the sandbakkel tins.  I place them on a cookie sheet so they are easier to put in and out of the oven.

Sandbakkels (9)Sandbakkels (10)

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes at 375, until they are lightly browned on the edges.

Sandbakkels (11)Sandbakkels (12)

Let them cool for 5 minutes then gently turn over and tap out.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.

Sandbakkels (13)

Once cooled fill them with whatever your little heart desires, or do like I do, dip in a nice cuppa tea.

Sandbakkels (14)

Write a review
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  3. 2 tbsp. powder sugar
  4. 1 cup butter
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. 2 cups flour
  1. Cream sugars and butter.  Add egg, vanilla, salt and mix well.  Mix in flour one cup at a time until completely incorporated.  Press into sandbakkel tins.  Bake at 375 on a cookie sheet for 10 to 13 minutes.  Cool in tin for 5 minutes, turn upside down and tap out.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.
The Kitchen Witch
I hope my GG Emma is proud of me!  I think I can hear her say “godt gjort!, Rhonda”

Related Posts with Thumbnails

, , , , ,

16 Responses to Sandbakkels

  1. Astrid December 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I have never seen those before, but they look so good. What do you fill them with? Chocolate? Yes, that sounds good to me! But seriously, they are adorable and look pretty tasty, too. You have put me in the mood to make a Puerto Rican holiday dessert now.

    • The Witch December 17, 2010 at 1:47 am #

      Astrid, they only have the cherry in them and then they are covered with chocolate…very easy! I’ll be checking your blog for a Puerto Rican holiday dessert.

    • Thomas April 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      My grandmother got tired of how I ate all the cookies and decided to teach me, instead of having to make more in her older age. You did alright.

      When you fill the tins, try going thin on the dough. There should be enough dough to cover it, but you should be able to almost see the bottom of the tin through it. If there’s too much dough in the tins: the cookies start to rise in the middle making filling them more difficult, they may cook unevenly, and you get this almost bread quality instead of that amazing crisp taste that I’ve always enjoyed.

      Whomever came up with the idea of using pecan filling, I thank you and I’m probably going to improve upon it.

      • Giggles April 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

        Thomas, thanks for the tip! I agree, too much dough means not enough room for filling. I’ve gotten much better at since this post.

  2. Kitchen Butterfly December 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Loveeeeeeeeeeee these cookies!

  3. Quay Po Cooks December 20, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    This looks pretty and I am sure it taste delicious too.

  4. lovetocook December 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I fill the unbaked sandbakkel with a pecan pie filling and then bake til center of sandbakkel is nicely set and golden brown. Let cool before turning out. I also use a recipe that includes 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom which really adds some nice subtle flavor whether just the cookie dough or with the filling.

    • Giggles December 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      My hubby would love it if I tried a pecan filling in it, he loves mini pecan pies. I’m going to try that, I also want to try the cardamom in it, it’s such a wonderful flavor and yet I don’t hardly ever use it.

  5. Kristie P December 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Ok, here is the deal. My great grandparents are from norway. Ludafisk I definitly would do without. Sandbakkels are my favorite and i used to have my gg recipe but it was hand written on a little index card and was lost. I have searched several sights looking for the recipe but every one is missing one key ingredient that makes these the best. Cardomon, cardomon, cardomon.

    • Giggles December 16, 2012 at 5:09 am #

      Kristie, I’ve heard that cardamon is commonly used in Sandbakkels although I don’t every remember my Great Grandmother using it. Cardamon is a common Nordic baking spice so I thought I’d try this year myself.

      • Kristie P December 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

        Its delicious.lovetocook says 1/2 a tsp. I use 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. good luck and enjoy

  6. Gail September 24, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    I found half this recipe on the back of a hand written note from one of the ladies from church. It has the orange glaze recipe in total but only half of the chocolate glaze. Would you just end me the chocolate glaze recipe. Thanks. PS: These are GREAT. So easy and something my grand daughter and I could do on my next trip to Arizona.. on Monday! Whee!

  7. clark December 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    I make these with the recipe from an old Scandinavian cookbook my mother had.

    1 cup butter
    1 cup lard
    2 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 cups flour

    This book is from the 1950s.

    • Giggles January 1, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to try this one, the use of lard seems very authentic.

  8. Teresa August 21, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    My grandmother’s recipe had 1/4 cground almond in the mix. We never had them with filling but that sounds good too. Also I agree that the cookies should be a little thinner.

    Did your gym also make Berlinger Kramer?

    You have a wonderful blog!

    • Giggles August 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks Teresa, I recently just had some sandbakkels with ground almond in it and I loved it. As a matter of fact, I bought some almond ‘flour’ for my next batch.