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Holiday Classic: Icebox Butter Cookies

Throughout the month of December, I am reposting my favorite recipes that would be great additions to your holiday table or wrapped up nicely as a gift. Enjoy!

Originally posted here.

 

I can’t believe it has taken me over 3 months to share this recipe with you all. Man, I should be fired. You’d think that this recipe was awful or something. But actually, it’s the opposite. This icebox butter cookie was so good that I basically forgot all about it until I was plowing through my archives.

“What is this?” I asked, loud enough that my next-door-neighbor’s dog barked in response. I guess it’s expected to forget this recipe though, especially since I was busy making Chocolate Frangelico Trifles and deliciously rich fudge cakes. A simple icebox butter couldn’t compare to the greatness of chocolate.

But, while taking a bite of dry, salty storebought cookie I realized the importance of a damn cookie. Mastering a simple, butter cookie shouldn’t be such a task but it seems that store nationwide are incapable of getting it right. I blame it on two things: cheap products and fake ingredients. Let this be a lesson folks: all natural is best. Which is why, when in doubt, always turn to Martha.

I mean, has this woman let me down yet? I know that some of you have a love/hate relationship with Mrs. Stewart, but so far, all the recipes from her Baking Handbook have been stellar. Some of her other books have received lukewarm reviews, but this baking handbook is a favorite in many kitchens. I’d like to think that this is the book Martha actually recipe-tested herself, but that’s just me.

The beauty of these cookies lies in its title: icebox. Every hostess should have these logs wrapped up well in her/his fridge, just in case. Forget storebought nasty cookies; slice and bake your own. I can’t tell you how many unsatisfying cookies I’ve eaten while at a party. You smile, pretend to enjoy the pasty crap in your hand, all the while thinking that buying cookies from a store is a big party foul.

Well, never again will you rely on those cookies, especially when these icebox butter cookies are so easy to make. Prep the cookie dough, roll it in whatever decoration you’d like, wrap the dough in plastic, and store it in the fridge. When the party kicks in, take the dough out, let it come to room temperature, slice ‘em up, and bake for 15 minutes. Homemade cookies couldn’t get any easier. And I guarantee you, they will impress all your guests. The cookies’ texture reminds me of shortbread: slightly sandy with a firm exterior and crumbly interior.

I rolled my cookies in seasonal nonpareils but feel free to do whatever you wants. Don’t worry about the decorations falling off either, because the buttery cookie dough binds the decorations. I imagine these cookies could be really cute rolled in green sugar for St. Patty’s Day or pastel sprinkles for Easter. If you wanted to really mess around with your decorations, you could roll the dough in some flaked coconut for a really delicate tough. Those would look adorable for a baby shower or wedding party. Hm… ideas, ideas…

Feeling adventurous? Why not toss in some toasted pecans or pistachios to the dough? I think those would be fantastic additions. Or use some finely chopped chocolate. Pick your poison. I’m so glad my days of nasty storebought cookies are over. I won’t ever rely on those overly sugared grocery store cookies for my parties every again. And you shouldn’t either. That’s no way to treat your guests.

Icebox Butter Cookies
Origin: Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
Yield: 5 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: chill at least one hour, or overnight

Ingredients:
● 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
● 3/4 cup granulated sugar
● 1 large egg
● 1 tsp vanilla extract
● 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
● 1 tsp salt
● 1/2 cup sanding sugar, (or granulated sugar) for rolling

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to combine. Ad the flour and salt; mix on low speed until combined.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half and roll each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper, making sure to cover ends completely, and place in empty paper-towel tubes, if using. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350℉ with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Let dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to slice, about 15 minutes. Roll dough logs in sanding sugar, coating them evenly, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place about one inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrapped well in plastic, they can be kept frozen for up to to three weeks. Be sure to let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing.

Printable recipe here.

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December 11, 2011 - 8:19 pm

Run Fast Travel Slow - Awesome photos — great color!

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