Ice Box Cookies, Two Ways

Because I am spoiled and will only eat freshly baked cookies, and because I have to have a treat every day, I try to keep cookie dough in my freezer at all times. Also, it's pretty amazing to be the auntie who can always whip up some freshly baked cookies at a moment's notice. I often search the interwebs for recipes and last holiday season Martha Stewart's Holiday Shortbread Cookies especially caught my eye for their versatility and freeza-ability. You like nuts but your husband doesn't? No problem! Split the dough and stir in separate ingredients. Want chocolate and vanilla, but not together? Sub 1/4 C cocoa powder for 1/4C of the flour in half the batter. With such a delicious, not-to-sweet-but-very-soft-and-buttery dough, practically any additions are going to work. Chopped nuts, dried fruit and chocolate work equally well in the dough, plus once formed, you can roll the logs in any additional ingredients you might like, such as turbinado or colored sugar, sprinkles or more chopped nuts - really almost anything. 

The dough will keep up to six months wrapped in plastic wrap, dropped into a ziploc bag and placed in the freezer. Just pull them out when you're ready to bake, slice and pop them into the oven. What could be easier?

Ice Box Cookies, Two Ways 
1 C unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 C powdered sugar
1-1/2 t kosher or sea salt, crushed
2-1/3 C flour
1/2 C mini chocolate chips
1/2 C dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 C finely chopped toasted walnuts

Yield 2 dozen cookies

In a food processor or stand mixer, blend the butter, sugar and salt. Add the flour and pulse or mix until combined. 

Divide the dough and place half into a second bowl. Fold the mini chips into half the dough and the cranberries into the other half. 

Form the dough into logs and wrap the chocolate chip log in plastic wrap and set into the fridge.

Roll the cranberry dough into the walnuts and follow suit.

Let the logs firm up in the fridge at least 45 minutes, or overnight. 

When you're ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350. Slice the logs into 1/4" slices (mine are a little thicker and yield a few less cookies, but I like them that way) and place onto cookie sheets. 
Ready to go into the oven.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned and let cool. Don't be surprised if your Fedex man knocks on the door to hand deliver your package as these cool on your counter. The scent does seem to waft down the road a bit.
Amazing how the scent of warm cookies will garner an actual hand delivery!
Cranberry Walnut Ice Box Cookies.

Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cookies
Brew your tea and sit down. Take a moment to savor these delicacies on your own. They're worth it. 
These are excellent for a holiday cookie exchange as they are truly versatile. They also make excellent gifts as they keep nicely for several days covered at room temperature and don't break when you drop them into gift bags. As I mentioned, you can also keep the dough wrapped tightly in the fridge for up to 6 months and have warm, freshly baked cookies any time you want - especially if you're single (which I am not) and may want to impress a certain delivery person (I did nothing of the kind. At least, not intentionally!). 



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