Almond Sand Dollar Cookies are crunchy, buttery treats that look remarkably like a treasured beachcombing find. A few sliced almonds and cutout holes are such an easy way to decorate these almond flavored cutout cookies.
My family’s favorite vacations have involved the beach. The sound of the ocean is so calming and restorative, especially when we are escaping a Midwest winter! Though my kids did try boogie boarding in Hawaii years ago, we usually spend more time on the sand than in the water. Shelling is my favorite beach activity and I have bowls full of shells as a result. My daughter used her shell collection to fill the glass cylinder bases of two table lamps. Now she has a constant, happy reminder of Sanibel Island in her living room.
This month I “adopted” a new deployed troop through Soldiers’ Angels, a female sailor this time! The first things I do after “adopting” a troop are write a quick hello email, send a toiletries package from the Soldiers’ Angeles online store, and send a box of coffee from Community Coffee (Their military program doubles any order sent to military addresses for free!). Then I come up with a theme for my first homemade care package for my new service member. Thinking of Sailor A. out on a huge ship on a huge ocean, made me think that maybe she would enjoy a little sand with all of that water. I decided to send her a “Seas the Day!” beach-in-a-box. Sailor A. won’t have to beachcomb for her Almond Sand Dollar Cookies!
Almond Sand Dollar Cookies are made with heat resistant ingredients, to stand up to high summer temperatures with the least possibility of spoilage. This includes using Crisco vegetable shortening instead of butter. If you have any doubts about using Crisco in a cookie, you should know what my taste testers all said.
Because these cookies contain almonds and I am allergic to all tree nuts, I couldn’t taste them. Almonds are the one tree nut I can bake with without an allergic reaction, but I can’t eat them. So I took a bag full of cookies with me to the dog park. Not for the dogs. (Dogs are lousy taste testers because they love everything!) I shared the Almond Sand Dollar Cookies with my human friends. As they nibbled bits of cookie, I questioned. I asked about texture, sweetness, amount of flavoring. I asked for comparison between two different cookies. Every person I asked preferred the Crisco cookie over the butter cookie without knowing what the different ingredients were. They said the Crisco cookie was less dry and had a better crunch. Most importantly, they all said that Almond Sand Dollar Cookies are delicious.
If an oceanside retreat isn’t possible, you can still bring a bit of the beach to your cookie jar or care package with Almond Sand Dollar Cookies. These light, crunchy cookies are sure to create smiles with their looks and flavor!
Stay tuned for details on the rest of the Seas the Day care package contents in my next Monday Box post.
More recipes for a beach theme or ocean theme
Watermelon Sugar Cookies are slice and bake sugar cookies that look just like a slice of watermellon!
Coconut Milk Snack Cake has a lovely soft texture and the light, tropical flavor of coconut.
Palm Tree and Pineapple Sugar Cookies use unique decorating to ensure these beautiful cookies can travel in hot weather.
Marzipan Cookies are delicious European almond cookies with the crunch of almonds on the outside and chewy marzipan on the inside.
Almond Flour Cookie Bars are soft and cake-like with chocolate chips. These delicoius cookies are naturally gluten free and Passover friendly.
Italian Almond Cookies, Pasticcini di Mandorle, are super simple to make with just a handful of ingredients.
Marzipan Springerle Candy looks like a cookie and tastes like candy. These beautiful almond candies make wonderful gifts.
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Almond Sand Dollar Cookies
- 1 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening Crisco
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-4 teaspoons water as needed
- 120 pieces sliced almonds
- 3-4 tablespoons sparkling or granulated sugar for decorating
- 2 pieces 2” each cut from pastic drinking straws, one plastic regular straw and one plastic smoothie straw
- 1 toothpick
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar.
- One at a time, beat in egg, almond extract, baking powder and salt.
- Gradually add in the flour. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate for one hour to firm.
- Working with one half of the dough at a time, roll out the dough to ¼” thickness between two sheets of wax paper.
- Use a 2 ½” circle cookie cutter to cut out dough circles. Place the circles 2” apart on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all of the dough has been rolled out and cut into circles.
- Press 5 almond slices onto the center of each cookie, like the petals on a flower.
- Use the pieces of plastic straw like cookie cutters. Press the bottom of the smoothie straw into the dough to create a hole between two of the almonds. Insert the toothpick into the straw to dislodge the dough cutout. Press the bottom of the small straw into the cookie making 2 holes on each side of the larger hole.
- When all of the cookies are decorated with almonds and holes, sprinkle with sparkling or granulated sugar.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.
First Published: July 15, 2017. Last Updated: January 8, 2023. Updated for better reader experience.
These turned really good! They are super cute and perfect for our family beach trip. At first I was a little worried that they might not turn out looking very pretty, but they did! I did have to add quite a bit of water because the dough was dry, and it took me longer than I thought it would to prepare them, but it was worth it. They taste great!
Hi, Laurel. What fun to have sand dollar cookies on your beach trip! I'm glad they turned out pretty and tasty!
Hi! So do you think this recipe is just as good with real butter rather than Crisco? I could go either way, really — just curious. I’d like to make them for friends joining me for a beach house escape. Thank you!
The Monday Box
Hi, Elizabeth! I tried this recipe with both butter and Crisco. All of my taste testers preferred the Crisco cookies. You CAN make them with butter, but I think Crisco produces a lighter, crunchier cookie. These would be PERFECT for a beach get-away!
Jessi @ Practically Functional
Oh yum, these look totally delicious Wendy! And totally like real sand dollars too, how cool!
I just wanted to let you know that you were featured as a Rockstar at last week's Creativity Unleashed party! Congrats, and thanks for sharing at our party!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Jessi! There is something magical about sand dollars, I think. 🙂 Thanks so much for the feature on Creativity Unleashed!! And thanks for hosting. 🙂
April J Harris
I love Sand Dollars - my late Dad used to find them on the beach for me. These cookies are a lovely way to remember them - and what a great care package for someone at sea. Pinned and scheduled to share on Twitter. Thank you so much for being a part of Hearth and Soul. Hope to 'see' you at the party when we return from summer break on Monday August 7th, Wendy! Have a lovely week ahead!
Love going to Chinese Restaurant to buy their almond cookies, but I bet your recipe is delicious!!!
Thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl.
Have a great week. Come again soon!
These cookies are gorgeous! This post really brought me back to the many childhood vacations spent on Sanibel Island. While I have boxes of shells collected on Sanibel, I never found any sand dollars there. But I have discovered that Pismo Beach (California) is littered with whole sand dollars. I even saw a live sand dollar on the beach in Pismo at low tide. It was purple and fuzzy. Thanks for this lovely recipe.
The Monday Box
Thank you, Ilana! As I am sure you know, so much of what is on the beach at Sanibel depends on storms at sea. One year we collected buckets full of dried sand dollars and another year, there were lots of sand dollars on the beach, but they were all alive! Like you, we don't usually find too many. Just gorgeous shells! I've never been to Pismo Beach, but now you've made me curious. 🙂
I pinned your delicious San Dollar Cookies and can't wait to make this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you will come back and visit us again real soon!
The Monday Box
Thanks, Miz Helen! Thank you also for pinning and for hosting Full Plate Thursday! I hope you enjoy the cookies. 🙂
I love sand dollars, and these cookies are beautiful. Your pictures are also awesome. Thank you for sharing at Friday Favorites Link Party. Shared and pinned.
I prefer using Crisco for most of the cookies I send to my sons in the military when they are overseas for just that reason - they are fine even after the three weeks it takes them to get there! These looks delicious! Pinning to try later. 🙂
The Monday Box
Thanks, Marye! Though I have found that not every recipe can be made with Crisco, for my summer military care packages, I seek out or create recipe that use Crisco for the desert safe quality and, as you mentioned, long lasting freshness.Thank your sons, please, for their service and thank you as their mom!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
Though I don't use Crisco, this was a logical reason to make an exception! Wonderful that they could pass the taste test as well. This is such a beautiful cookie!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Jean! You can use butter in this recipe, if that is your preference. The butter cookies were delicious. I understand that some bakers just don't like using shortening. I am learning that each fat (butter, shortening, nut butters, oils, etc) produces different qualities in baked goods and the best results occur when the best fat for that recipe is used.
I love all things with nuts so these cookies are going on my to bake list! I am so surprised by the results with Crisco. I always thought butter is best. I love learning new things from you!!
These are just so fun Wendy! I love how they look so beach-y and summer-y! Not to mention that I absolutely adore anything with almond!!
It's hard to think of cookies that are good representations of summer but now I have these! I love all things almond and I love how you decorated them so simply but yet so effectively. It does make me think of the beach, which is where we were just yesterday. : ) These are so lovely and you can't be a sandy almond cookie with tea or for dessert. Simple is the best. And I'm not surprised about the shortening...I need to try it one day!
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
These are the most perfect cookies I've ever seen. They are absolutely beautiful. You are such a gifted baker. They remind me of Sanibel and how I wish we were going this year!
The Monday Box
Thank you, Tricia! I truly appreciate you enthusiasm and support! My cookies aren't perfect and I am certainly not gifted....and perhaps that is the point. If I can do it, anyone reading the blog can do it too! One thing is for sure, I have fun! 🙂 Sanibel is the only place that I return to over and over and never get tired of!