The holiday season is upon us and creating homemade gifts can be fun and festive. These “ice box” or “refrigerator” cookies make beautiful and delicious gifts. These cookies 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. The last step, although optional, is to coat the cookie dough in an egg wash and roll in decorative sugar. This adds a festive sparkle to the cookies.
Here are some helpful tips for cookie baking: 1) read the entire recipe before beginning 2) measure and prepare your ingredients accurately before you start 3) use parchment paper or silicone pads as 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 but check often so the cookies don’t burn 6) let the cookie sheets cool in between batches.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher 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 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachos roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries roughly chopped
- 1 large egg lightly beaten -optional
- 1/4 cup decorative sugar such as Turbinado sugar- optional
- Stir together flour and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix for another minute. Reduce speed to low and add the flour 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 for at least 2 hours or overnight.