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Icebox cookies, also known as refrigerator cookies, are made by mixing a dough from commonly found ingredients, such as butter or shortening, sugar, flour, eggs, baking soda or baking powder, flavorings and salt. The dough is then rolled it into a log or formed into a rectangle or cylindrical block, which is then chilled, sometimes for a few or more hours. This stiffens the dough, making them easier to cut from it into 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick rounds or squares of dough.
After they have been cut, the dough is then placed 1 to 2-inches apart on an ungreased, parchment paper covered, or silpat covered sheet pans. The cookie dough is baked in a moderate 350 degree F oven until edges just begin to turn golden, sometimes taking less than 10 minutes. When baked, icebox cookies are buttery and usually thin and crispy, showing off a bit of a chew inside, depending upon how thick they are cut.
There are hundreds of recipes for Icebox Cookies. Recipes come in all flavors, ranging from chocolate to vanilla, lemon, orange, etc. By alternating colors and flavors of dough, usually chocolate and vanilla, cookies are made with patterns, such as checkerboards or pinwheels.
Icebox cookies are a great prepare-ahead-of-time dough because it can refrigerated for 3 days in a logo form or other shape or frozen for a month or so. Then, cookies can be cut baked at any time, even if directly from the freezer.
Baked cookies packed in a tin, or wrapped, frozen logs of cookie dough, packed with baking instructions, make wonderful gifts. Remember to keep them refrigerated.
SARAH SAYS: Some cookies are cut from a cookie dough log, using the same kind of dough used for rolled cookies. Often, the cookie log will flatten on one side as you cut. For a round cookie shape, make sure that the dough log is very cold, and every four to six slices, turn the dough log a quarter turn, to help maintain its shape. Keep the formed dough pieces the same size and thickness on the cookie sheet. Doing so produces uniform shaped cookies that are evenly baked, preventing some from being over- or under-done.