Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grandma's Ice-Box Cookies

 A favorite cookie from my childhood was my grandma's ice-box cookies. It's an easy one to make, though the "ice-box" part - cooling the finished dough - takes a bit of time. I usually make the dough one day, refrigerate it overnight and bake it the next day. Today I was in a bit of a hurry (and probably just hungry) so I sped up the process by using the freezer. I first cooled the dough down in the refrigerator (about an hour), then placed it in the freezer for another ten minutes.

 I also made half a recipe and I rolled smaller rolls resulting in petite-sized cookies. We're taking some to the gathering Saturday after Mae's funeral at Miamisburg's Catholic Church, Our Lady of Good Hope.

 I also made liberal use of the black walnuts I collected last fall and which Mom processed over winter. We had a few English walnuts, too, but this used mostly blacks. They have a very strong flavor which some people may not like.
 Here's the original recipe in my grandmother's (Helen Schmidt) writing, sprinkled with notes from my own mother (Mary Schmidt):

 The most important change is that my mother feels a 400° oven is too hot; she uses 375° (thus I do, too). I also felt a full recipe was too large (two sticks of butter!) so I cut it in half. Even so, the smaller rolls produced 40 cookies. Mom adds vanilla (I didn't). Actually I forgot.

 Cut the rolls with a paring knife, about 1/2" thick and place them cut-side up on a cookie sheet (I always line the cookie sheet with parchment paper ... no clean-up!). These cookies don't spread out much (they rise) so the dough can be place closer than is usual.

 I found 12 minutes plenty long to bake these smaller cookies. Just test them with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they're done.
 Notice how the cookies rise - or puff up. They look like little tan pillows.

 I always use our wooden butcher block as a cooling rack.
 I just tested one: delicious! Now it's time to make doubly sure they're perfect and that requires a hot cup of coffee, too.

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