German Shortbread Refrigerator Cookies (Heidesand)

Heidesand recipe

The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Chill Time: 12 hrs
  • Yield: 4 to 5 dozen (12 servings)

Heidesand is a shortbread cookie named after a Northern German landscape, the Lüneberg Heath (Lünerberger Heide). The ground there is made up of sand left over from glaciers although it is miles from the ocean. These shortbread refrigerator cookies are melt in your mouth and feel a bit sandy. Vanilla and browned butter make them delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup/400 grams unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup/150 grams sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla flavor)
  • 2 1/4 cup/275 grams flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for heidesand
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  2. Melt 3/4 cup/170 grams of the butter in a pan and cook it until it starts to brown and takes on a good aroma. Do not let it burn.

    Melt butter in pan
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  3. Pour the butter into a bowl to cool and refrigerate until firm.

    Pour butter in bowl
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  4. Cut the remaining 1 cup of cold butter into pieces and mix with the sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

    Cut butter
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  5. Mix in the flour to form a stiff dough.

    Mix in flour
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  6. Form the dough into two rolls, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

    Form the dough
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  7. Roll these in granulated sugar. If you have large crystal sugar it makes a very nice decoration.

    Roll in sugar
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  8. Wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate overnight.

    Wrap in plastic
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  9. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 F for a half an hour.

    Dough in rolls
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  10. Cut the roll of dough with a sharp knife into 1/4-inch slices.

    Cut into coins
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  11. Place the cookie dough on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cookies are set and slightly browned.

    Cookie dough on baking sheet
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  12. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool completely. If they are still warm when you touch them, they could disintegrate (they are very tender).

    Baked cookies
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  13. Enjoy!

    Heidesand recipe
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Tips

  • Because there are so few ingredients in these cookies, you will have the best results if you choose fresh butter and real vanilla.
  • Store at room temperature.