Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Favorite Icebox Cookies

This is where I usually put the photo of a cookie that didn't make it onto my short list, but the more I thought about these simple-yet-beautiful, go-with-anything Sesame Fingers, the more I realized that they deserved a place on my list of favorites. So there you go - they made it!

I can't believe it - three chapters down, two to go! For those of us (including me) who have always equated icebox cookies with "slice 'n bake" cookies, this chapter was a revelation in more ways than one. First with the shaping - icebox cookies need not be round and in fact the square, oblong and finger shapes were always well-received. Secondly, two doughs can be arranged in a variety of ways to great effect: you can wrap one around the other, you can layer them, or you can roll them together into a pinwheel. Finally, you can shape the dough in a pan (flat or loaf) or you can even put two slices together with some filling in between.

Icebox cookies take a little more time to make because of the chilling time between mixing and baking, but you can usually mix and shape the dough a day or more ahead. It's awful nice to have those cookies in the freezer just waiting to be baked!

There were no dogs this time around. The lowest scoring cookie was actually one of my favorites - the Sesame Fingers you see pictured above. These and the other cookies with seeds were not preferred by the cookie panel, but I enjoyed them all.

So now without further ado, here are my personal favorites. The first few are in no particular order. I'll save my very favorite cookie for last...

Coconut and almond filling surrounded by a chocolate cookie. These Black and White Coconut Slices are reminiscent of an Almond Joy bar and just as sweet as they look.

These Fruitcake Icebox Cookies are beautiful and tasty. The candied cherries and pineapple are key, so use the best you can find.

One of these Peanut Butter Pillows would make an impressive and substantial dessert. Each is like a little pie - two big peanut butter cookies with a dollop of peanut butter sandwiched within.

I'm a sucker for cinnamon, so it's no surprise that I fell for these Almond Spicebox Cookies. With a super-sized helping of cinnamon, these cookies are delightfully crunchy and spicy.

And the winner by a mile (the others never stood a chance) - my very favorite Cobblestones. Crunchy and chewy, loaded with nuts and raisins, this is my idea of the perfect cookie.

Next up - rolled cookies. I have to admit, I've never really enjoyed rolling out cookie dough. I have trouble getting it rolled evenly, and depending on the dough, I've had trouble with crumbling or sticking. I just sprang for a new pastry cloth and a "sock" for my rolling pin, so we'll see if they help. With any luck, rolling cookie dough will be old hat by the time I finish the chapter!


Cerebrum said...

This is truly a breathtaking project Cathy - I can't believe you're so far already! And thank you for the little round-up - I think I missed the peanutbutter pillows, they look totally yummy!

Nupur said...

What an incredible array of delightful morsels! Cathy, you are such a perfectionist! Each cookie looks gorgeous, made with the utmost care.
I love the cherry-pineapple ones, they look exactly like little wreaths.

Unknown said...

I love ice box cookies, but don't make them often. I think I'd love this book and have been looking for it, but I can't find it. I've seen her cake book but not the cookie book. Any suggestions on where to look?

Cathy said...

Hi Zarah - I can't either! I'm not always so good at sticking with something!

Hi Nupur - I've missed you! Thanks so much!

Hi Claire - well, you can tell I wrote this post late at night - I completely forgot to include the links for the book! If you look at any of my posts on the individual cookies, you'll see two links under the photo at the top of the page. Let's see if I can get the syntax right here... The "old book" link will take you to Jessica's Biscuit (www.ecookbooks.com) which carries remainders of the out-of-print book from which I am working. The "new book" link with take you to Amazon which carries a compilation of Maida Heatter cookie recipes from several of her books. It includes all but one of the recipes in the old book.

Rowena said...

Brava Cathy for the effort that you've put into this cookie project. Reading the last paragraph only reminded me that I'll be up to my arms in gingerbread and sugar dough this winter as I'm suppose to be flying back to the islands to work for my old bakery boss. Rolled cookies were in my department!!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see what the rolled cookies bring... and I'll definitely need to try some of your favorites from this chapter. By the way, since you mentioned cinnamon...I remember quite a while back you said you were going to start using the Vietnamese Cinnamon (was it the Penzey's cinnamon? or a different brand?) Anyway...so what did you think of it? Did it live up to your expectations?

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena and Alice! For some reason the emails from your comments just came through a few minutes ago! (days after you posted!)

Rowena - Thank you! If you have any tips for me on rolled cookies, I'd love to hear them!

Alice - I did try the Vietnamese cinnamon in something (can't remember what now) and don't recall noticing a pronounced difference. I've been using one of the other varieties more recently, but will be using the Vietnamese cinnamon again.

Niki said...

The photos look gorgeous! And I'm totally with you on rolling cookie dough - it's something I hate as well. It always sticks and I get flour all over the kitchen - bah!

Cathy said...

Hi Niki - thanks! I'm REALLY hoping that by the time I've worked my way through the rolled cookie chapter I will have finally gotten comfortable with the process. I remember I used to dread making a pie crust, but I don't have much trouble with that any more. Practice makes perfect - I hope!

Corrie said...

these cookies look great! the cobblestone cookies DO look good, and those peanut butter and jelly cookies are very cool! nice photos!


Cathy said...

Thanks so much Jackie!