A glass of milk is the perfect accompaniment for a stack of Sand Tarts. The family recipe has survived decades of kitchen adventures.
A glass of milk is the perfect accompaniment for a stack of Sand Tarts. The family recipe has survived decades of kitchen adventures. (Amy Peiffer — apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com)

Sand tarts have been a tradition in our family for far longer than I've been alive.

My Poppy would spend an entire weekend every Christmas making these cookies and packaging them in colorful tins for family, friends and neighbors.

Everyone we knew would ask, "When's Poppy making his cookies?," hopeful we'd share a few from the coveted tin with them.

Now 86 years old, Poppy moved into a nursing home earlier this year. For the first time, he's unable to uphold this holiday tradition.

When I asked my mother to share Poppy's recipe with me so I could attempt to share the tradition with my children, she handed me a small, delicate and nearly transparent scrap of notebook paper.

The paper looked as though someone had attempted to laminate it with tape decades ago. Yellowed and nearly illegible, the recipe seemed like an ancient artifact unearthed in some dusty archives. I've since scanned it and reproduced it here for you to share with your family.

Sand Tarts

2 cups butter, softened

2½ cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups flour, sifted

1 egg white, beaten

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Walnut halves (optional)

1. Cream butter until softened. Add sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy. Add eggs slowly, beating well.

2. Add flour in four parts, mixing until blended after each addition.

3. Chill dough overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Using a small amount at a time, roll dough out on a floured pastry board to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds.

6. Combine cinnamon and sugar.

7. Brush cookies with egg white and sprinkle with mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

8. Press a walnut half into the center of each cookie if including nuts.

9. Bake for 6 minutes until edges begin to turn golden.

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The recipe makes 17½ dozen cookies.

-- Reach Amy Peiffer at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.