The maddening truth, and reason why I blog so infrequently:
Happy Holidays, everyone!
For The Great Food Blogger Cookies Swap, I decided to make a family favorite of mine: Icebox cookies! I have never made them before, but are one of the earliest cookies that I remember.
My mom never considered herself a baker, but she could (and still can) ROCK a cookie tray. At her legen-wait for it, because this next part is used to top your latkes-DARY! Legendary Hanukkah parties, latkes are brisket were always the star, but you have to have something sweet to finish the meal. She became a master of meringues (something I have failed at several times over) and spritz cookies (a favorite of my dad). But the cookie from her childhood, and the only cookie that I remember from my great grandmother, is the icebox cookie. I remember my mom making it a few times, but the meringues and spritz were her staples.
Icebox cookies are beautiful - spiraled and lightly flavored - and so easy to make in bulk. And, once rolled into its tube, it will stay in the fridge for days, or (if well-wrapped) in the freezer for a few months. They're like homemade slice and bake! The set up is easy: make a batch of plain dough. Divide into thirds. Add the flavor and food coloring to each of the small sets. I usually use vanilla and chocolate, then switch up the third. My mom would use green coloring and mint. I sent out blue coloring (teal?) and coconut. I experimented with chocolate, almond, and red raspberry. After you mix each third, you roll out each layer until its 1/4 - 1/2" thick and all about the same size (roughly 9x13) and stack. Roll into a log, refrigerate, roll in sugar, then slice and bake!
Coconut flavor was a big hit! I used sanding sugar around the outside to add extra holiday pizazz (Holiday Jazz Hand Cookies!). And, here's the part to explain my lack of photos... They were so good and so plentiful that in addition to the dozen I had to send to each of my swappers, I had about 2 dozen left at home. I set aside about 5 for a photo shoot later (I get off work so late that I didn't have any daylight by which to photograph!), and gave my hubby permission to eat at will. He usually doesn't eat very many of my creations because they're all fancy. And he literally begs for sugar cookies. And apparently these were boring enough that in less than one week, he ate all of the extra cookies AND my secret stash. Leaving me without any photos for this. Now, I can't really stay mad at him because he is usually so good about leaving food that I need for blogs, and it does mean that he finally liked something enough to devour it.
Recipe notes: This follows 3-2-1 proportions of the main ingredients of flour, sugar, and butter. Use 3 units of flour, 2 units of sugar, and 1 unit of butter. If you're using pounds, cups, or shoe horns - just keep these together. I found that 1 egg for the cups was *just* a little dry. I needed about 1 Tbs of milk to get the dough to a Play-doh consistency. Depending on your humidity or elevation, you may not need this. Decide after you add the flour. The proportions below, using cups, produce about 18 cookies.
Soooo... here's the recipe! I hope you enjoy. And that yours come out mostly like spirals.
Chocolate Coconut Icebox cookies:
1 cup of butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs milk (optional)
1/4 extract of your choice (I used vanilla and coconut)
~1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa (if using chocolate layer)
Flour for rolling
Granulated or crystal / sanding sugar for the outside
Wax paper and saran for storing.
(1) In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy.
(2) Add the egg and mix until smooth.
(3) Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix just until combined. If necessary, add milk (1/2 - 1 Tbs) until dough just holds together, like Play-doh.
(4) Remove dough from bowl and divide into three individual bowls. In each bowl, add a separate flavor and food coloring (if using). For the best contrast, leave one without any dye. A chocolate layer also adds great contrast.
(5) On a floured surface, roll out each batch into a rectangle about 1/4 - 1/2" thick, and about 9" x 13" in size. Stack the layers as you finish them.
(6) Starting with the long size towards you, roll the dough along the short side so that it spirals on itself. Roll the entire log in saran wrap, and then in wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but up to 3 days.
(7) When you remove the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
(8) Put your sanding sugar in a shallow dish and roll the dough log to coat the outside in sparkly sweet goodness.
(9) Slice your sparkly dough log into cookies about 1/2" thick and place on the cookie sheet. These will not spread much, but shouldn't touch on the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Check after about 8 minutes, though - these will not brown much, but will start to look dry on top. My batches took 11 - 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, then hide from your hungry husband so that maybe you can enjoy a few, too!