National Pecan Sandies Day comes around on June 23 every year, and whether you say it as ‘pee-can’ or ‘peh-kahn,’ we give you all the reasons to be excited about this textured, crunchy, buttery, tree nut. Also, did we mention these are a type of cookie? Cookies make everything infinitely better, so we don’t doubt that this will have you coming back for more. Firstly, what is a pecan sandy, and what’s with the name? The sandy (or ‘sablé’) is a type of sugar or shortbread cookie. The word ‘sablé’ is French, meaning ‘sandy,’ due to the crumbly texture of the cookie, which comes from the sandy, breadcrumb-like texture when mixing the flour and butter. The name also works because of the sandy color of the cookie. The traditional pecan sandy has a toasted pecan pressed into the cookie and is garnished with a flurry of powdered sugar. Furthermore, since this is a type of mildly sweet shortbread cookie, it melts in the mouth and goes amazingly with a glass of cold milk or a hot beverage like tea.
History of National Pecan Sandies Day
Though there is not much information to be found about the first time National Pecan Sandies Day was recognized as a holiday, the origins of the sandy itself can be somewhat traced. The name ‘Sandies’ was registered by the Keebler Company (an American cookie manufacturer) as a brand name in 1955, which they used for their line of shortbread cookies. They introduced the pecan sandy then and, later on, added other variations. It, therefore, seems likely that the pecan sandy was popularized by the company and perhaps that is how the sweet treat came to have a day of its own.
However, we can trace the origin of the sandy all the way back to medieval France (1670) where the ‘sablé’ (the French word for ‘sandy’) was first created in the region of Sablé-sur-Sarthe, in the western part of France. Some say that the pecan sandy originated from sweet treats of medieval Arab cuisine because, in countries like Malaysia, it is referred to as an ‘Arab biscuit’.
Other world cultures have very similar cookies to pecan sandies, which are generically called ‘snowball cookies’ and have their own specific names depending on their country of origin.
Differing from pecan sandies only in shape, snowball cookies are rolled into balls and doused with powdered sugar (resembling snowballs — hence the name) and contain pecans as part of the dough. They are also known as ‘Mexican wedding cookies,’ ‘Russian tea cakes,’ and ‘Danish wedding cookies.’ Whatever the country of origin, though, we are sure glad they exist, and that they continue to be a favorite for people around the globe.
National Pecan Sandies Day timeline
Spanish explorers discover pecans and name them ‘nuez de larruga’ (‘wrinkle nuts’).
In Sablé-sur-Sarthe, the pecan sandy is born.
Texas decides to make the pecan tree its state tree.
The Keebler Company registers Sandies as the brand name for their cookies.
National Pecan Sandies Day FAQs
What makes a cookie a sandy?
Making cookies with dry dough and less sugar is what can make them have a crumbly, soft texture that is reminiscent of sand (both in look and texture). Also, cookies that have a higher fat content (i.e. plenty of butter), when creamed with sugar, tend to be airier and therefore they have a lighter mouthfeel. The crumb is not as densely packed as cookies with a wetter dough or less fat content.
Why are they called thumbprint cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are named so because of the technique used to create them. When the dough is rolled into a ball and then flattened a little bit, you press your thumb into the center in order to make a little depression into which something like a pecan, piece of candy, or fruit can be placed. Thumbprint cookies are also known as ‘hallongrotta,’ which means ‘raspberry cave’ in Swedish. Thus, a traditionally made pecan sandy would also count as a thumbprint cookie because of the pecan pressed into the cookie.
How do you make pecan sandies from scratch?
There are many recipes and variations to choose from, but the basics remain the same. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in cake flour, ground pecans, any essence of your choice, and mix until a dough is formed. Chill the dough. Roll the dough into balls and gently flatten, pressing a pecan into the middle of each cookie. Bake, coat with powdered/icing sugar, and prepare for bliss.
How to Celebrate National Pecan Sandies Day
Get baking, naturally
Not only will your house smell amazing (a great trick for an open-house day, or before having guests over), but these easy-peasy cookies can be ready in 20 minutes — depending on the recipe you choose. And the variations are countless, so you can get creative too.
Compile a pecan recipe list
We feel that the pecan just does not get its due recognition, so why not see for yourself how amazingly versatile this little nut can be. Step aside walnuts, we have a new nut to experiment with — be it sweet or savory, there’s something for every palate. Drizzle them with caramel for a satisfying dessert addition, or toast and toss some into a salad for that buttery crunch. Maybe plan an entire pecan-themed meal, with all courses paying homage to the nut.
Find a pecan festival near you
For folks in the U.S., many states have their own pecan festivals (some have several even), so do some quick research and get on board with the festivities. If your state does not have one, why not plan a trip to another state with a pecan festival as a bonus to make your road trip extra special.
5 Facts About Pecans We Bet You Never Knew
Nutrition in a nutshell
Pecans have the highest amount of antioxidants than other tree nuts and are a great source of zinc.
Great for the heart, skin, and hair
Because of the nutritional properties of pecans, they do great things for your body — truly a health nut!
Pecan festivals are a thing
Countries like Canada, Australia, and Britain all have their own pecan festivals.
The U.S. has a pecan capital
Albany, Georgia, has more than 600,000 pecan trees and is officially the ‘pecan capital’ of the U.S.
‘Pecan’ is a Native American term
Native Americans used the word ‘pecan’ to describe nuts that needed stones to crack them.
Why We Love National Pecan Sandies Day
Cookies make the world go round
Just the thought of a batch of freshly baked cookies and the heavenly smell of them lingering in the house is enough of a reason to celebrate this holiday. And the best part is that pecan sandies recipes have so many variations that no one can claim to be immune to them.
It brings pecans into the limelight
Pecans are one of those nuts that may often go unnoticed when compared to almonds, cashews, or walnuts. But the proven health benefits (not to mention taste benefits) of this delicious nut make it worthy of high praise indeed. The world needs to know about pecans, and what better way to promote it than through this tasty little treat called the pecan sandy.
Pecans impact communities
With the U.S. being the world’s largest producer of pecans (80–90% of the world’s pecan crop), pecans are an important American crop, which makes them a valuable livelihood source for many communities in the central and southern parts of the U.S. So it makes sense that this nut is to be celebrated, bringing people together through the festivities as well.
National Pecan Sandies Day dates