Posts Tagged ‘icebox cookies’

My grandmother passed last month. Her passing was sudden and unexpected, so it took awhile to sink in that she was really gone.

In so many ways, she was a remarkable woman. She was incredibly strong, never one to complain. I never heard her say an ill word of anyone. She was a veteran, serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. And she was fiercely proud of all her grandchildren, cheering us on in life.

She also was a personal inspiration, one of my first mentors in the culinary world. She cooked simply, and loved to feed others. When I visited my grandparents in Edmonton, I loved wandering through their vegetable garden. Arriving mid-summer, there would be the soft fronds of carrot greens and the tender leaves of beets. Zucchinis would be hidden among the broad leaves and the herbs would be fragrant. Her rhubarb was prized: always abundant and ruby red.

To satiate my family’s sweet tooth, she would always have cookies or squares or a pie hidden away in a cupboard. To this day, I associate gingersnap cookies with her kitchen – our family would often indulge in a few of these cookies as a bedtime treat with a glass of milk.

To make sense of her passing, I recently felt a need to bake gingersnap cookies. Her recipe is sharper than some, with a healthy dose of ginger. There is certainly a time and a place for chewy gingerbread, but sometimes a crunchy version is just what you need. And these cookies are definitely snappy.

My family always makes these at Christmas, taking extra time to roll out the dough and decorate them with sprinkles and silver balls. During the year, they are a fabulous icebox recipe: simply roll the dough into a log, freeze, slice the log, and pop the rounds into the oven.   The challenge is always to limit yourself to one or two…


Icebox Gingersnap Cookies

(~100 cookies)


1 c. butter

1 ¾ c. white sugar

2 eggs

½ c. molasses

3 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. cloves

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

4 ½ c. flour


Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the molasses, spices, and baking soda. Sift in the flour, and mix until integrated within the dough.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut cookies using either the icebox or rolling pin method (see below). Place cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for ~10 minutes or until the bottom is golden. Transfer to a cookie rack and allow to cool.

To roll out the cookies:

Form the dough into a large ball. Cover in saran wrap and cool in fridge for 30 minutes. Roll dough out on a clean, floured surface using a large rolling pin to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick. Use your favourite cookie cutter to make your favourite shapes. If interested, use sprinkles, silver balls, or other special ingredients to decorate prior to baking.

To make icebox cookies:

Roll the dough into 2-3 inch (5-8 cm) logs. Wrap in wax paper and cool in the freezer for approximately 60 minutes. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into thin ¼ inch (0.5 cm) rounds.

Note that the logs keep beautifully in the freezer for up to 3 months. If not baking immediately, make sure to wrap the logs thoroughly to avoid freezer burn. When ready for delicious cookies, simply remove log from freezer and slice the cookies as above.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Dare I admit that over the Christmas holidays, my family and I baked seven pounds worth of butter?  We made many a family favourite from tourtière to my grandma’s delicious coffee cake recipe.  And of course, we made half a dozen types of Christmas cookies to enjoy.

Now I know a recipe is an old family tradition (handed down from mother to daughter over many generations) when the first ingredient is melted fat and the only instruction to be found is “bake in moderate oven”.   These icebox cookies have indeed stood the test of time. My mother has since modified a few of the ingredients (we have long substituted butter for melted fat), but the stains on our family recipe is testament to the deliciousness of these Christmas cookies.

The batter is a cinch to make and makes about 8 or 9 dozen cookies altogether.  The simplicity of icebox cookies lies in its baking: Once the batter is mixed, the dough is first rolled into logs and frozen in the freezer, and then, quickly sliced and baked.  Our family will often bake one or two rolls, saving the third for a special occasion a few months later.  With red and green candied cherries complementing the toasted almonds, these buttery, crispy cookies are an absolute delight!

Icebox Cookies

(makes over 100 cookies)



2 cups unsalted butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

4 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1  1/2 cups finely chopped almonds, toasted in oven with butter

1/2 cup each green and red candied cherries



Cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until the batter is light and fluffy. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Fold in the toasted almonds and candied cherries.

Spread three large pieces of wax or parchment paper on your counter.  Divide the cookie dough into thirds and roll each section into a log.  Chill for at least two hours or freeze for up to three months.

Preheat your over toe 350 F. Unwrap log, and place on a cutting board.  Using a sharp knive, thinly slice into 1/4 inch (or about half a centimetre) rounds.  Place on a greased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake until pale golden, 6-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies, rotating the sheets halfway through.

The cookies will crisp as they cool.  Perfect with a glass of milk or tea!

– Catherine

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