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January 8, 2013


by Anne Paddock

Sandcastles are an original take on an old Moroccan cookie recipe that utilizes rye flour and coconut oil instead of flour and butter as the basis for each of the four varieties of cookies:  Deep Chocolate Infrared, Maple Dusted Cardamom, Vanilla Black Sesame and Marzipan with Toasted Almonds.  Slightly suspect (because what can be better than butter and flour in a shortbread cookie?), I reluctantly purchased these cookies for my vegan daughter who was looking for a great tasting cookie that satisfied her dietary restrictions.

Sandcastles are the creation of  Steve Blanco (whose mother is Moroccan), a jazz musician and Heidi Karlsen, an actor and food enthusiast.  The story all started one day when Steve’s mom served a traditional Moroccan cookie called the “Sandi”  to Heidi and “she flipped out over them and suggested we create a healthier version so we could eat them everyday.” Thus, the Sandcastle was born with the refined sugar, butter, and wheat flour replaced with evaporated cane juice, coconut oil, and organic black rye flour grown in upstate New York. There are no refined sugars,  wheat, trans fat, dairy , cholesterol, eggs, GMO’s, or preservatives in these cookies…..and they taste absolutely amazing reminding me of the rich decadent cookies sold in high-end patisseries in France. As Steve and Heidi like to say “Sounds simple, tastes amazing. Just real whole food ingredients in a modern cookie with ancient wisdom.”

black-blanco-sandcastle-1-thumb-620x359-40866One bite of the Deep Chocolate Infrared Sandcastle cookie and we were hooked.  This was no ordinary chocolate cookie. The round dense cookie resembles shortbread or a sandy and tastes every bit as rich – but without the butter. Made with whole dark rye, virgin coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, arrowroot, dark cocoa, vanilla, sea salt, paprika, and guar gum, these incredible cookies have a deep dark chocolate flavor that can only be described as positively addictive.   To be honest, I’ve never tasted a cookie made without butter that tastes this good. The other three sandcastle cookies are also delicious and have equally impressive ingredients:

Maple Dusted Cardamom:  Contains whole dark rye, virgin coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, arrowroot, pumpkin seeds, vanilla, sea salt, cardamom, maple sugar, and guar gum. The pumpkin seeds and maple sugar give this cookie a mouth full of flavor in a shortbread cookie.

Vanilla Black Sesame: Contains whole dark rye, virgin coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, arrowroot, black sesame, vanilla, sea salt, and guar gum. The company’s signature cookie is mildly sweet with a delicate toasted crunch.

Marzipan with Toasted Almonds: A sandcastle cookie that is rich and moist with a crunchy toasted almond flavor. The cookies contain whole dark rye, virgin coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, arrowroot, almonds, almond extract, sea salt, and guar gum.

376698_379155035484790_171895227_nThe cookies can be purchased directly from the company via the website listed below.  The Sandcastles are also widely distributed throughout fine stores and food markets in New York City (where they are made) and about a dozen other states.  See the company website for a complete list of stores that carry the Black and Blanco Sandcastles. Each box of beautifully wrapped and packaged cookies contains 8 cookies (4.4 ounces) and sells for $5-$6, depending on where the cookies are purchased from.

Black and Blanco
630 Flushing Avenue, Suite 812
Brooklyn, New York 11206

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