Icebox cookies are named for their ability to hang out in the freezer until you’re ready for them; one basic dough can be transformed into a whole array of holiday cookies. Customize enough logs of slice-and-bake cookies to stash away for festive emergencies – the very best kind. Best of all: you can slice a few off each log and bake them together on one sheet, making an assortment of freshly baked cookies in next to no time.
1 cup (250 ml) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (185 ml) sugar
3/4 cup (185 ml) packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
3 cups (750 ml) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Add additions as described below, or keep plain and decorate with sprinkles when baking.
Divide the dough into two or three pieces, shape each into a log and wrap in parchment paper, twisting each end to seal. Refrigerate until firm, or for up to a week, or freeze for up to six months. Makes enough dough for about six dozen cookies.
Divide the dough in half, and knead a quarter cup cocoa into one of the chunks – the dough will be soft enough to incorporate it evenly.
Shape each piece into a log the same size, wrap in parchment and chill. Once the dough is firm, cut each lengthwise into quarters.
Swap two of the quarters between the logs, pressing together two white and two chocolate pieces to make new logs. (They don’t have to be perfect – they’ll work themselves out in the oven.)
Wrap and refrigerate, then slice and bake as directed.
When Ready to Bake
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Slice the dough a quarter-inch thick and place the slices on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until pale golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November/ December 2015.