The Dutch Pecan Sandies


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    2 inch cookies

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 325°F/160°C
Baking Time 20 to 22 minutes for each of two batches

These flavorful and fragile cookies (pictured here) are downright dangerous: the perfect balance of sugar, spice, and salt that makes you take just one more and then another and another. I met master baker Kierin Baldwin on my first visit to The Dutch in Soho, New York City, when I asked to meet the baker who made the heavenly brioche buns for the restaurant’s fried oyster sliders. It turns out Kierin is even better known for her fabulous pies and cookie selection.


Cookie Dough

Makes 22.6 ounces/642 grams

unsalted butter 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) 8 ounces 227 grams
granulated sugar 3 tablespoons 1.3 ounces 37 grams
turbinado sugar, preferably Sugar in the Raw tablespoons 1 ounce 30 grams
dark brown sugar tablespoons, firmly packed 1.3 ounces 37 grams
vanilla powder (or pure vanilla extract) teaspoon plus ¹⁄₁₆ teaspoon (or ½ tablespoon/7.5 ml) . .
fine sea salt ½ teaspoon plus teaspoon . 3.7 grams
pecan halves cups 5.3 ounces 150 grams
unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably Gold Medal or Heckers cups (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 3 tablespoons 7.3 ounces 206 grams
whole wheat flour tablespoons 0.8 ounce 22 grams
ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon plus teaspoon . 1.4 grams

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

granulated sugar tablespoons 0.7 ounce 19 grams
ground cinnamon ¾ teaspoon . 1.6 grams
turbinado sugar, preferably Sugar in the Raw 1 tablespoon 0.5 ounce 13 grams

Special Equipment

Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, nonstick or lined with parchment | A 12 by 8 inch or larger flat baking sheet or thin cutting board that can fit in the freezer | A 2 inch plain round cookie cutter, lightly coated inside with nonstick cooking spray


Clarify and Brown the Butter

Beurre Noisette

Have ready a fine-mesh or cheesecloth-lined strainer suspended over a 2 cup glass measure with a spout.

In a medium heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter. Raise the heat to low and cook, uncovered, watching carefully to prevent burning. Move away any foam on the surface to check the progress. As soon as the milk solids become a deep brown, immediately pour the butter through the strainer into the glass measure, scraping the solids into the strainer.

Measure or weigh ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon/195 ml/5.7 ounces/161 grams of browned butter. Let it cool until solid, or refrigerate it for 1 to 1½ hours until set but still soft. (If it becomes too hard, let it soften until malleable.) Refrigerate or freeze the milk solids for a future use.

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.

Make the Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt on low speed until combined. Add the browned butter and beat, starting on low speed and gradually raising the speed to medium. Continue beating on medium speed for 1 minute. The mixture will become light and like a buttercream in consistency.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon until the pecans are coarsely chopped. Add this mixture to the mixer bowl. Beat on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the dough is well blended and comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Chill the Dough

Scrape the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use the wrap to press down on the dough, kneading it lightly just until smooth.

Divide the dough in half, 11.3 ounces/321 grams each. Wrap each piece loosely in plastic wrap and press to form flat discs. Refrigerate 1 disc while you make the first batch.

Roll the Dough and Cut the Cookies

Roll the dough disc between two large sheets of plastic wrap into a inch thick disc, inches in diameter or larger. Slide the baking sheet under the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Cut out as many 2 inch cookies as possible, but do not remove them from the rest of the dough.

Chill the Dough

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and freeze for about 10 minutes, or until rigid.

Make the Topping

In a large custard cup or small bowl with a flat bottom, whisk the granulated sugar and cinnamon until uniform in consistency.

Place the turbinado sugar in a small custard cup.

Set the Dough Discs on the Cookie Sheet

Use a small offset spatula or your fingers to peel away the dough surrounding the cut cookies and set it on another sheet of plastic wrap. Cover these dough scraps and let them soften.

Coat both sides of each cookie in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Occasionally stir the sugar and cinnamon. Set the cookies a minimum of ½ inch apart on a cookie sheet. Cover the cookies with plastic wrap and refrigerate while rolling out the remaining dough.

Knead together the dough scraps and reroll them. Cut as many cookies as possible and repeat chilling, coating, and setting a maximum of 16 cookies on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies lightly using half of the turbinado sugar. Knead any remaining dough into the second batch.

Bake the Cookies

Bake for 10 minutes. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies turn a golden brown and are firm when pressed very lightly with a fingertip.

Cool the Cookies

Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely. The cookies will be very fragile after baking but will firm up by the following day.

Repeat rolling, cutting, and chilling with the second batch of dough. For the last piece of dough, set it in the cookie cutter and press it down with the handle of a wooden spoon to form an even disc. Use your finger to push it out of the cookie cutter.


Airtight: room temperature, 3 weeks; frozen, 3 months.