Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moppie's Sand Tarts

First off - I'm sure you're curious as to who Moppie is. "Moppie" is what my kids call my mother-in-law, Martha Jones. Second - and probably more important - is the story behind these sand tarts. 

One of the first things I learned to make from my mother-in-law was this recipe. It's one of Gerald's all-time favorites and something that he requests that she make each time she comes to visit or we head to their house. In fact, she's made them so much that even my bother, Jon, has grown very fond of them. So - at Gerald and Jon's urging, I had her write out the recipe for me. (See below. Doesn't she have a pretty handwriting?)

So the recipe calls for margarine. I don't use margarine, so I figured REAL butter would make them even better. It also calls for vanilla. I'm partial to almond extract. So I made these slight changes the first time I baked these, sure the men would rave over my improvements. Wrong. I'm not saying they didn't eat them. They did. But they complained the whole time!

You'll notice the recipe specifies Parkay margarine. Well, she wrote this recipe for me about fifteen years ago. Since then, Parkay has "improved" their margarine recipe, but as far as Moppie is concerned, it's no longer a viable choice. 

So after a great deal of experimentation, she has decided that Imperial is the only way to go. (By the way - I must tell you that my MIL usually does not agree when a company "improves" their products! She has been known to write many a letter (not emails - a real letter) to the company to advise them of their mistake. As a result, she often gets letters of thanks for her input as well as a stack of coupons encouraging her to continue to try their products!)

Before I begin the cookies, I finely chop my nuts.

Next, melt the butter over medium heat and add the powdered sugar. Mix well. Turn off heat.

Then add flour and nuts. Stir well with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

You should have a beautiful dough like below.

Move away from the heat and using a small cookie scoop, dip about a tablespoon of dough. 

Roll it into a ball, then roll into an oblong shape.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes or until they begin to turn light golden brown.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then place them in a bag full of powdered sugar and carefully toss them. There will be just enough warmth left in them to make the sugar stick.

I store them in the bag to keep them well coated.

Aren't they pretty? Some people compare them to Mexican wedding cookies. Want to hear something funny? Moppie doesn't eat Moppie's Sand Tarts. She doesn't like them! But everyone else does!

Here's the exact recipe.

Moppie's Sand Tarts

2 sticks Imperial margarine
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 pound powdered sugar
2 cups self rising flour
2 cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 6 tbsp powdered sugar. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts, flour and vanilla. Form into balls. Bake at about 300 degrees (depends on oven) until light golden brown. (About 40 minutes for me.) Let cool slightly then toss in powdered sugar. Store in air-tight container.

I made the original recipe for this batch, so you'd think everyone would be happy. Wrong, again. Gerald , Jon, and even Jewell all said they tasted different. I promise I used the exact recipe! I think they have decided that I purposely try to make them different just to trick them. Well - this time I didn't! They ate them (as if eating them one after another would deliver the answer), but kept insisting I made them differently. I took the leftovers to my parent's home on Christmas Eve. My Daddy and my youngest bother, David, LOVED them! So - from now on, I only make them for those two! That'll teach the rest!  

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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