Today, I want to share a recipe that comes from my grandma on the Norwegian side of the family. Sandbakkels (or sun buckle cookies) are a shortbread-type cookie generally made around holiday time, but my grandma has a habit of making these whenever one of us grandkids requests them. I love sandbakkels plain, but they can also be enjoyed as a bowl for puddings, fruit and cream, ice cream… really, anything goes. Over the course of my life, my grandma has experimented with making these with both brown and white sugar. I’m personally partial to the white sugar version, but my cousin Matt prefers brown sugar. (I hear his other grandma makes them that way.) Honestly, though, you can’t really go wrong with butter, sugar and almond extract in the delicious department.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
2 cups flour
1 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter, sugar. (Having the butter at room temperature to begin with helps a lot.)
Add egg, then flour, & then flavoring.
Press the dough into sandbakkel tins, making the dough thin, but even throughout. If it gets too thin near the top edges, they’ll brown a little. I’m partial to toasty edges myself.
Bake at 350 in sandbakkel tins placed on a cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
What my completely cooked sandbakkels looked like.
Turn molds upside down and tap gently until cookies are released from tins. Makes about 35-40.
That’s all for today, but I’ll be sharing ideas for amazing sandbakkel fillings tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Oh, MY!!!!!! I have been looking for these for many years. My grandmother made these by the dozens for us at Christmas. Our family cherished them. I have ot been able to locate a recipe nor find tins prior to your site. Thanks a million for sharing a part of our heritage as well. I love my grandma’s Norwegein family…after all I am one as well. Thanks for an answered prayer. DPB
You’re most welcome!! God Jul :)
Do you have any suggestions for how to get the cookies to get the cookies out of the tins without breaking them? I loose almost half of each batch because they don’t just “tap” out of the tins.
I talked to my Norwegian grandmother about this, and she said that she broke less over time as she got more experience. She also said that the sandbakkel tins she inherited from her mother break less cookies than new tins. The way you wash your tins makes a difference too! You should only rinse them (kind of like caring for cast iron), so more oil is retained, leading to less broken cookies.
My Norwegian grandma put them in snow as soon as they came out of the oven. The cold makes them pop right out. Now I make them with my kids, as long as we have snow!
I roll the dough into small balls, and then roll the balls lightly in flour prior to pressing it into the tins. They come out much easier that way. Also be very careful not to get dough over the edge of the tins! (Just like when maki g rosettes)
Thanks for the tips, Janeen! Sandbakkels are so delicious, but can be so hard!
A lady at one of the Senior apartments taught me to put clean towel on the counter and throw the tin upside down they come right out ,sometimes a second drop is necessary, but they hardly ever break!
Hope this works for you!
Dropping the tins upside down on a clean towel works well too!
my Norwegian grandmother and mother made these, and I inherited my mother’s tins. I’ve been making them for many years. Very easy. Another way to help the cookies out of the tins is turn them upside down and slightly squeeze the sides of the tin. They freeze well, too, so can always be put away for a surprise when you have guests, or just need a special treat! Another prized Norwegian Christmas recipe is that for “Berliner Kranser”. Amazing!
Ooh! Adding Berliner Kranser to my baking bucket list now! Thank you. :)
My grandma always made these at Christmas time. It was always a family activity. We put them in snow to make them pop out of the tins. As grandma took them out of the oven my uncle would go outside to fill the roasting pan with snow. Then we would all get to drop a couple in the snow. I make them now with my kids. It’s always disappointing to have a green Christmas because we can’t make them!
Thank you for posting this. I couldn’t find my moms’ recipie, so went on to Google looking for a good Norwegian post. Your site came up in the search and I knew it would be a winner and hoped it would be your Grandma Charlene’s recipe. I ate many good sweets at your Grandma’s (and my aunt) home growing up. She is an excellent baker. Thanks again.
Thank you! I lost my Norwegian cook book and was despairing not having Sandbakkels until I googled you, Heidi. Munga tuk.
PS – the Berliner kranser are another must have for Yule in our family – I prefer almond extract and the mashed hard boiled egg adds that bit of extra – yum! (fortunately, I wrote out my mother’s (and grandmother’s) recipe so that treasure is preserved.)
I fill my sandbakkels with a pecan filling.
I always thought my grandmother’s recipe had cardamon in it. None of the recipes I have found on line have that as an ingredient.
My dear friend that just passed away made wonderful sandbakkels. Her recipe has LOTS of cardamom in it!!
I would love to see a sandbakkel recipe with Cardamom. Does anyone have one? My Grandma was Norwegian. She taught me how to make sandbakkels, but never have cardamom. Sounds yummy though.
Mary M Long
Heidi, these were delish! I hope I can post a picture of my son & myself with a part of our batch.
I can’t wait to see! I’m crossing my fingers to find the time to make a bunch of sandbakkels for gifts this Christmas! :)
I make these every year. I use Grandma’s recipe and I have her tins. The older tins are the best, and can often be found at antique stores (in Minnesota and Wisconsin). Most buttery, delicious cookies ever!
Hello Heidi, it’s very early in the morning and I’m so excited to make the sandbabakles , I just bought a box box of tin at an inline auction that runs weekly sale my aunt Phyllis Johnson always made these at Christmas, now with the tins I’m going to do the wonderful little cookies , on Sunday I’ll make my grandmothers rossettes I was given he rosette iron from my mother , can’t wait, love the traditions and nearing 70 would love to let my grandchildren learn these. First thing this morning making pretty cold press soaps for friends for gifts . Thanks for this recipe.💕
Ooh! I just bought rosette supplies for this year! Do you have any good tips?
Debra R. Rowlands
I just bought the Sandbakkelse tins at an auction last night and eager to use, since I had to loo online and saw what the heck I had!!!! How interesting!! Question: Do you use plain flour in the recipe? Thanks!
I do – just your standard white flour from the store. It’s what my grandma used. She’s third generation, so I imagine she just used what was readily available. :)
Very happy.to.have found this recipe as I finally was able to.get my mother’s cast iron sandbakkel.tins out of storage. I made.mine with.dark brown sugar. They came out of the pan no problem.simply when I turned the pan over…one or two needed a wack. My mother filled them with whipped cream.and jam, and for Thanksgiving instead of jam.I used whole berry cranberry sauce and black.cherries marinated in alcohol. Guests said it was the most fabulous dessert ever. Thank you! I am not sure it is the exact recipe my mother used but I think.it is close. I checked other recipes online and many called for ingredients like lard that did not seem.right at all. Good ingredients only.and simple always gets my vote. I recommend rolling the dough before putting it in the mold.
Thank you for all the tips! Every year I make these I learn something new! Happy new year. :)
can we bake them any other way than the tins? i don’t have any tins
The tins are required for the cookies to properly bake. You can often find vintage tins at antique shops, or you can get pastry tins from a variety of online suppliers.