Cranberry Pistachio Ice Box Cookies

The holiday season is upon us and creating homemade gifts can be fun and festive.  This recipe makes beautiful cookies that make a delicious gift!

These are “ice box” or “refrigerator” cookies. They are made by shaping dough into logs and then refrigerating the dough before slicing and baking. The advantage to this type of cookie is the dough can be prepared ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen.

Here are some techniques for cookie baking:  1) read the entire recipe before beginning  2) measure your ingredients accurately and prepare ingredients before beginning  3) use parchment paper or silicone pads- this contributes to even baking and makes clean up easier 4) rotate pans halfway through baking  5) follow baking temperature and time in the recipe and let the cookie sheets cool in between batches. Enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (natural not with red dye)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup course decorative sugar (such as Turbinado or Sugar in the Raw)

To Make Dough:

Stir together flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, granulated sugar and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps. Mix in pistachios and cranberries. Gather and press dough together then divide into 2 equal pieces. Using a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid, form each piece of dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Slice and Bake Cookies:

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush egg over all sides of bars (but not the ends). Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well. Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, rotating bar after cutting each slice to help keep square shape. If dough gets too soft to slice, freeze bars briefly until firm. Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks and cool completely.

The dough bars can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen for up to one month wrapped in plastic and then foil. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator just until dough can be sliced. Cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Source: Gourmet Magazine

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