Monday, June 13, 2011

Ice-box Cookies

 As a child, I remember my Grandma Schmidt often baking "Ice-box cookies". Of course many people nowadays have probably never heard of an "ice-box" but it predates our refrigerator, truly no more than a wooden box into which a cake of ice was placed to keep food cold.
 The idea behind the "ice-box" cookie is that the dough needs to be chilled before it can be sliced.
 Last evening Mom mentioned that she was going to make a batch. Now that I've had one for dessert, I want to share my grandmother's original recipe with all of you. First, here is what the finished cookies look like.

 Now for the recipe. My grandmother hand-wrote all of her recipes on small scraps of paper. Mom has added notes and modified many of the older recipes to our taste. For instance, my grandma noted "nut meats chopped" and we always use pecans. As far as I'm concerned, nothing else will do as well. The taste in this cookie must be pecans.
 Mom also modified the baking temperature to 375°. The resultant cookie is probably a little softer than the ones my grandma made. But in my memory and even now, the cookie is substantially unchanged. It is a wonderful treat to make, not sickeningly sweet and an easy dessert to whip up.
 My grandmother, by the way, lived from 1902 to 1995 and probably fostered my father's sweet tooth and mine, too. She loved to cook and loved to bake and showed great pride in her creations. Here, then, is the original recipe for her Ice-Box Cookie:

 I've scanned the recipe in hi-resolution so click on it to expand the view.

 Here is my grandmother (Helen Schmidt) in 1966 at age 63. My brother, Bob (10) and my grandfather (Elwood Schmidt) at age 67. Those were the years the cookie baking peaked. How well I remember having Saturday lunch at their house. Now, I'm nearly 62 and almost the same age as my grandmother in this picture.