Sagamore Hill Sand Tarts

These cookies, most likely named for their sandy appearance, were a favorite of President Teddy Roosevelt. This recipe comes from his wife, Edith Roosevelt, who wrote it on the inside cover of one of her cookbooks. The Roosevelts would serve sand tarts to guests at Sagamore Hill, their beloved hunting trophy-encrusted home.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a picture of the original recipe in Edith’s handwriting, but the exact same recipe is given in both American Cookie by Ann Byrn and The Presidents’ Cookbook by Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks:

Sand Tarts:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups sifted flour

For topping:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Cream butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
  2. Add two of the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Separate the third egg, reserve the egg white, and add the yolk to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out the dough thin, 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thick. Cut in 2 1/2 inch rounds.
  5. Brush the cookies with the reserved egg white and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.
pile of cookies on a blue plate

Tasting notes:

Since the sand tarts don’t have any raising agents, they are fairly crisp – more like a shortbread than like a typical sugar cookie. However, since they are thin, they are still very light and delicate. The cinnamon sugar is delicious, making me wish I had put even more on each cookie. With a cup of tea in hand, it’s pretty easy to plow through a whole plateful of these.

But the important question is – what would Teddy Roosevelt think?

References:

Byrn, A. (2018). American cookie. New York: Rodale Books.

Cannon, P., & P. Brooks. (1968). The presidents’ cookbook. United States: Funk & Wagnalls.

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