Portuguese Sand Cookies • Areias de Sintra


Portuguese sand cookies or Areias are a traditional portuguese cookie from the region of Sintra, its a super simple rustic cookie, that is molded into balls and the sweetness and name comes from the sugar on the outside.

This recipe is simple to make and results in a delicious, crunchy and crumbly cookie. Its a perfect cookie for a tea, there is only 1 trick to make them, you cant compress the cookie, you just mold them enough to make a ball, that’s it, because you want it to barely hold so after baking it will be super crumbly and delicious.

Portuguese Sand Cookies, Areias de Sintra Recipe

Portuguese Sand Cookies, Areias de Sintra

  • Servings: 15
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Portuguese sand cookies are traditional cookies from Portugal and a delicious treats that can be enjoyed by everyone, you can easily make a batch of these delightful cookies at home.


  • Flour – 300 gr
  • Butter – 200 gr (Cold)
  • Sugar – 100 gr
  • Sugar (To Sprinkle)
  • Salt – 1 pinch


  1. There are 2 tricks to making perfect sands, first you have to have very cold butter, second handle the dough as little as possible (so as not to dissolve the butter and not compress the cookie so after baking its very crumbly).
  2. You will start by mixing the dry materials in a bowl, flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Next, cut the cold butter into small cubes and mix in the bowl with the flour, use only your fingertips to crush the butter into the flour, or better yet, throw everything into a food processor.
  4. As soon as you create a reasonably homogeneous dough (but still have bits of butter), wrap it and take it to the fridge for 30min, you do this to let the butter harden again, so when you create the little balls you don’t melt the butter completely.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare a baking tray lined with non-stick paper (or silicone).
  6. Now you’re going to create the balls, try to make them the same size so they cook equally, whether small or big balls, don’t press the balls, this dough is naturally brittle and fragile, you want to create light and crumbly balls, so mold just enough so the ball doesn’t fall apart and put them on the tray, repeat until you have a full tray, so about 15 to 20.
  7. Put the cookies in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes (depends on the oven and the size of the balls), you want the sand cookies to be cooked but you don’t want them to be dark, take them out of the oven and while they are hot and soft, carefully roll them in a bowl with sugar, roll several times so that the sugar gets stuck on the outside, repeat for all the sand cookies and let them cool.
  8. While cooling they will get more crunchy, keep them on a hermetic box so they will stay crunchy, enjoy!
Notes: Like i said, keep the butter cold and don’t roll the dough balls too hard so the cookies will be very smooth and crumby.
Also you can add things like cocoa, shredded coconut or almond flour for a different version 😀

This recipe for Portuguese Sand Cookies, Areias de Sintra was originally created on BakeAfter.com.
Esta receita de Areias de Sintra foi publicada em português no Iguaria.com.


Per Serving: 205 calories; 11.6 g fat; 24.7 g carbohydrates; 2.2 g protein.

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