I’m not sure why icebox cookies have remained a trend of the fifties. They’re the ultimate in real convenience foods – far better than chubs of store-bought cookie dough, they allow you to keep a stash of unbaked cookies at the ready, in waiting for your cravings to hit or guests to arrive, whichever comes first.
Because icebox cookie doughs are so similar, they can be mixed and matched and baked together; try swirling or shaping contrasting icebox cookie doughs to create interesting effects. And because they bake for the same length of time, you can keep a whole wardrobe of them in your freezer and slice a few slices off each log, then bake them together for an assortment of freshly baked cookies on one tray. They also make a great gift, or contribution to a cookie exchange – that way when the baked goodies run out, there will still be a log of dough in the freezer. To package (or keep it straight in your own freezer), cut a paper towel roll open lengthwise, and slide it in. Wrap in tissue or parchment, tie the ends in twine and attach baking instructions.
(Hint: any rolled cookie dough can be frozen as slice-and-bake icebox cookie dough!)
Pecan Chocolate Chunk Icebox Cookies
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate, or chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or peanuts
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir by hand until it starts to come together; add the chocolate and pecans and stir just until you have a soft dough. Gather the dough into a ball, shape into a 6-inch log, wrap in parchment, waxed paper or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. With a sharp knife, slice the frozen log into 1/3-inch slices (you may need to let it sit on the countertop for 10 minutes or so, if it’s too hard to slice) and place about an inch apart on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for about 10 minutes, until pale golden around the edges. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.