Cranberry-Pecan Sandies

Normally, I’d start a post like this off with a little morsel of food trivia — but, alas, I have none for you today.

I tried my damnedest to solve this question that’s been plaguing me for the last couple days, and come up with nothing (and not even Google knows)!

Maybe someone out there in Internet Land can tell me the answer to this: why are pecan sandies called “pecan sandies”?

Okay — the pecan part is obvious.

But, the “sandies” part? What is that? Who is that?

I can’t figure it out! It’s been driving me crazy, so if anyone knows, take pity and let me know, too!

Ahem. So, about cookies…

Pecan sandies aren’t really a ”holiday” cookie per se, but between the addition of a touch of cinnamon and sweet, dried cranberries, I think they fit right in amongst all the other lovely December treats out there!

So, the trick to getting the most divine nutty flavour out of this recipe is by toasting your pecans first.

I mean, I thought pecans were good as is, but toast them and add a little sugar and — whomigawd! — suddenly, they take on this rich, maple-like flavour that works gorgeously with these sweet, buttery cookies.

Cranberry-Pecan Sandies

*adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 & 3/4 cups + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped


Preheat your oven to 350°F (or 175°C).

Spread 1 cup of pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 12 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and dark.

Remove the pecans from the oven, turn the oven off, and allow the pecans to cool completely.

Once cool, grind the toasted pecans with 1/4 cup of flour and cinnamon in a food processor. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift 1 & 3/4 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Finely chop 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Gently beat in the vanilla until smooth.

Stir in the sifted flour mixture and gently combine.

Once the batter is partially mixed, add the ground pecans, mix a little more, then add the chopped cranberries and fold everything together until well incorporated (and there’s no stray flour left at the bottom of the bowl).

Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disk, wrap completely, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Once chilled, preheat your oven to 325°F (or 160°C).

Remove the wrapped dough from the refrigerator and roll out to about 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick.

Press shapes out of the dough using a cookie cutter, or, using a knife, cut the rolled dough into squares.

Poke the cookies with a fork before baking them for 10 ~ 12 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges.

Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before eating! Yum!

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2 thoughts on “Cranberry-Pecan Sandies

  1. I always figures they were called sandies, as a shortened version of Sand Tarts, which are a type of shortbread that is crumbly and can resemble sand. Hmm…now I’m curious too!

    • Christine says:

      I had a friend e-mail me with a similar “sand tart” explanation! I guess that must be it, although I find it hard to believe — calling anything a “sand tart” just sounds kinda… ick. Who wants to eat sand?

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