Straight from the icebox

November 08, 1998|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

The grandmother of all convenience foods is the icebox (refrigerator) cookie. Predating boxed mixes and plastic tubes of ready-made dough, these cookies go back to the days when chilling food meant putting it on ice - literally - or, in cold climates, setting it out on the screened porch.

As a category, refrigerator cookies are less work than cut-out cookies and more visually appealing than the drop or bar variety. Unlike molded or pressed cookies, refrigerator cookie dough is shaped immediately after mixing. Easily formed into rolls or squared-off logs, the dough goes into the refrigerator until it's firm enough to slice - or until you're ready to bake.

Here's where a multifunction refrigerator/freezer comes in handy: In a pinch, the dough can be quick-chilled in the freezer in less than half the time it normally takes. If an interruption occurs and you need to postpone baking, the dough can be left in the refrigerator for up to three days, or put in the freezer for up to a month.

These crisps are ideal for box lunches because you can bake them fresh as they're needed.

Cole Publishing Group

Molasses Crisps

Makes about 60 (2 1/2-inch) cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup light molasses

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

In a bowl, stir together flour and baking soda to combine thoroughly; set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugar until well combined; blend in vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Add flour mixture alternately with molasses, mixing to blend after each addition. Stir in walnuts.

Divide dough in half; transfer each half to a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Shape each half into a 2-inch-diameter roll or square log and wrap well. Refrigerate until firm (for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days). Alternatively, place dough in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes until well chilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut logs into uniform slices 1/4-inch thick. Place slices about 1 1/2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown (10 to 12 minutes).

Remove from oven and let stand on baking sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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