Top | Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies

Ginger Pecan Lemon Sandies

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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Something about the combination of lemon, ginger, and pecans really works for me. I mean, I like them all alone, but all three in a dessert that also features buttery crust — most excellent. These cookies are a mishmash of recipes by Ina Garten and Amanda Hesser, and they're also quite similar to the thicker, blockier Hazelnut Ginger Shortbread. The name "sandies" is a literal translation of the French "sablés," and refers to the crunchy, sandy texture of the cookies. Serve them with a cup of hot tea or a glass of dessert wine.


  1. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (see Note)
  2. 1 tsp. baking powder
  3. 1 tsp. kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  4. ½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  5. ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  6. ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  7. 2 egg yolks
  8. Grated zest of 2 medium lemons (about 3 to 4 Tbsp.; use Meyer lemons if available)
  9. 3 to 4 Tbsp. finely diced candied (aka crystallized) ginger
  10. ½ cup finely diced pecans
  11. A few Tbsp. raw (demerara, muscovado, turbinado, etc.) sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Put the softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until the butter is light and creamy. Add the sugar slowly, first the powdered sugar, then the granulated sugar, beating for a few minutes after each addition. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing briefly after each one. Add the lemon zest, mixing just to combine.
  3. Turn down the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. When the flour is just incorporated, add the ginger and pecans. Turn off the mixer and remove the bowl; scrape up any unmixed batter from the bottom of the bowl and mix it in quickly by hand.
  4. Divide the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the wrap around each ball of dough, shaping each ball into a rough log as you go. (Each log should be about 2 inches in diameter.) Refrigerate the wrapped logs for at least 30 minutes, preferably at least two hours. (You can also leave the logs in the fridge up to a few days, or freeze them for a few weeks.)
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (You will need to bake the cookies in batches, two baking sheets at a time.)
  6. There are two ways to prepare the cookies for baking: slicing thin circles off the logs, or rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters.
  7. If you choose the faster slicing method, use a serrated knife to slice the logs into thin, ¼-inch-thick circles. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and, if you wish, sprinkle raw sugar over each cookie. Lightly press the sugar into the cookies with your fingers.
  8. If you choose the fancier cutter method, roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to a thickness of about ¼ inch, then use a cookie cutter (fluted squares are traditional for sablés) to cut out the cookies. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and, if you wish, sprinkle raw sugar over each cookie. Lightly press the sugar into the cookies with your fingers.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the tops of the cookies are golden and the edges are browned. You don't want to overbake these cookies, but underbaking them makes for doughy, floury-tasting cookies. The browned edges indicate the cookies have attained the proper crunchy texture.
  10. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the sheets, then remove to racks to cool completely. You can eat the cookies fresh from the oven, but their taste and texture actually improve with age, so if you can stash them in a cookie jar for a day or so, you'll be rewarded.


You can replace half of the flour with whole-wheat pastry flour, if you like.