It’s the back-to-school season, and one tradition in my family is welcoming the children home from school with fresh-baked cookies.
You could simply pick up a tube of cookie dough from the supermarket, but most of the prepared dough includes ingredients I can’t even pronounce. With this week’s recipe for Icebox Cookies you’ll know exactly what you’re serving the kids and, after you’ve made the dough, they’re as easy as the slice-and-bake dough from the store.
Icebox cookies are called that because they need to be refrigerated before slicing and baking. The dough also can be stored in the freezer. Having a batch of this dough in the fridge or freezer means that you can greet the kids, or unexpected guests, with fresh-baked cookies any time.
My recipe for icebox cookies is very similar to a shortbread cookie’s. The cookies are crisp, crumbly and not too sweet.
There are many ways to flavor up this dough. The batch in the photo is flavored with vanilla extract and includes mini chocolate chips. Here are some other options.
• Grated zest of 1 lemon or lime and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Swap ¼ cup of flour for cocoa powder and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to make chocolate cookies.
If you want to add mix-ins, they can be added into the food processor, but they will be chopped. If you want to use mini chocolate chips and have them remain intact, you’ll need to place the dough in a bowl before adding the chips.
• ½ cups mini chocolate morsels
• ½ cup chopped dried fruit
• ½ cup chopped nuts
• ½ cup toffee bits
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
Flavoring of your choice (see list)
2 egg yolks
Coating of your choice (see below), optional
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the flavoring of choice and the egg yolks and pulse until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a log in wax paper and then wrap in plastic wrap or place in a freezer bag. Freeze for two hours (dough can be frozen for up to two months).
When ready to bake the cookies, remove a log of the dough from the freezer and set on the counter while you heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a thin knife to slice ¼-inch thick cookies. Place on baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown. Transfer to cooling racks.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.