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4 Time Winner

Icebox Cookies Tested Recipe

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Icebox Cookies Recipe

One look at this stack of sweet and buttery Icebox Cookies, dotted with flecks of red candied cherries, makes you think of Christmas. There is no doubt as to why these old fashioned refrigerator cookies have remained a favorite. They taste great plus you can make the dough ahead of time and then simply slice off and bake the cookies as needed. What a treat it would be during the holiday season, to give a busy friend a nicely wrapped frozen log of this cookie dough (with baking instructions), so they can enjoy freshly baked cookies whenever life dictates the need for something sweet. 

I know that some people dislike the taste of candied cherries. If so, you can substitute an equal amount of finely chopped nuts. While I agree these cherries are not ideal for eating out-of-hand, I enjoy their sweet flavor and chewy texture when folded into cake and cookie batters or when used as a decorative garnish. Candied cherries are also called glace cherries, and they are cherries that have been dipped in a sugar syrup. For these Icebox Cookies the cherries are chopped into small pieces so each cookie will have small flecks of red dotting its' entire surface. Now, the cookie dough is made with the creaming method, that is, cream the butter with the sugar, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract, and then the flour mixture. The last step is to fold in the candied cherries. Once the dough is made it is divided into thirds, each portion is formed into a log shape, refrigerated until chilled (up to three days), and then you slice and bake the cookies. If desired, the dough can be frozen for a month which is ideal if these cookies are going to be part of your Christmas baking.

The buttery flavor of these cookies means it is important to use the best unsalted butter you can afford. I prefer using unsalted butter as the salt in 'salted' butter can overpower its' sweet flavor and can also mask any odors the butter may have absorbed in storage. Besides butter, vanilla extract is also a strong flavor in these cookies. So when buying vanilla extract make sure that it is labeled "pure". Stay away from the ones labeled "imitation" vanilla extracts as they are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter aftertaste.


Icebox Cookies: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until a dough forms. Stir in the cherries until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Divide the dough into thirds. Place each third of dough on a large piece of parchment or wax paper. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped rectangle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) long. Then thoroughly wrap the shaped logs in the parchment or wax paper, twists the ends of the paper to seal the logs, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours, or up to three days. (The logs can also be frozen for about one month. If freezing, it is best to let the logs stand at room temperature about 15-20 minutes before slicing.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a thin bladed knife, slice the logs into 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick slices. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Store at room temperature for about five days or baked cookies can be frozen for a couple of weeks.

Makes about six dozen cookies.

Adapted From:

Baird, Elizabeth. The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. Random House Canada. Canada: 2001.

Icebox Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups (345 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (175 ml) candied red cherries, chopped




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