In my quest for unique cookies, Arnhem cookies stood out like a sparkling light. On the King Arthur Flour blog, they are called Crystal Diamonds and sparkle-icious. I’m just going to call Arnhem cookies “sparkle cookies”.
Sparkle cookies are made with cracker dough containing no sugar. Instead of rolling the dough out on flour, you roll the dough out on sanding sugar. The crunchy sanding sugar becomes embedded into the cookies, creating visual appeal and a sugary sweet crunch. I know that I’ll be pulling this recipe from the files (looking it up on the blog) again and again to revisit the buttery caramel-like crisp pleasure they bring – especially because my mother-in-law just declared them her new favorite cookie (tied with these).
These sparkle cookies contain yeast, but this isn’t some complicated bread recipe – you’ve got this!
Sparkle Cookie Recipe
The recipe, it seems, is originally derived from Arnhemse meisjes (“Arnhem Girls”), a signature cookie of Arnhem in the Netherlands.
When you see the recipe below, please forgive me for not getting permission from Hagdorn, the baker at Van Zalinghein in Arnhem who developed it around 1829.
Sparkle Cookies (Arnhem Cookies)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup sanding sugar
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together flour, milk, yeast, and salt until stiff.
Cut the butter into four pieces and mix them in one piece at a time, beating for a full minute between each addition and an additional three minutes after the last addition. The dough should look smooth and satiny.
Place dough in an oiled bowl that gives it a little room to rise, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 275 F.
Sprinkle a work surface liberally with sanding sugar as you would flour.
Place some of the rest of the sanding sugar on top of the dough and roll the dough out to 1/8" thick. Add more sanding sugar to the top of the dough and also lift the dough and add more to the bottom as needed to fill spaces that don't have much sugar or simply to keep the dough from sticking.
Use a pizza wheel or a knife to cut the dough into diamonds (or any other shape you like).
Place the cut dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, each dough piece one inch apart from the next.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and are a light brown color.
Cool on a cooling rack.
Some versions of this recipe call for the addition of a couple drops of lemon oil. I did not add this, but it would be worth trying.