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Get a jump on holidays with Refrigerator Cookies

Get a jump on holidays with Refrigerator Cookies

They can go into a deep freeze until you’re ready for them
Get a jump on holidays with Refrigerator Cookies
Top row: cream butter, sugar until smooth; roll log in colored sugar. Bottom row: cut slices 1/4-inch thick; finished cookies.
Photographer: Caroline Lee/For The Daily Gazette

There’s no need to bake these cookies anytime soon, maybe not even for weeks. That’s because they’re Refrigerator Cookies, and they can go into a deep freeze until you’re ready for them. Won’t that make the holidays a little easier?

This recipe started out in "The Joy of Cooking"; from there I tweaked the ingredients and directions. They offer these tips when freezing dough: if you’re cutting them after freezing, you can shape the dough into a roll.  Be sure to wrap it so it’s airtight. Freeze separately in batches, one roll per bag, for example.

I rolled the log of dough on a piece of wax paper sprinkled liberally with colored sugar. The sugar keeps the dough from sticking, and it’s easy to roll the log back and forth in the sugar by picking up the ends of the paper and rolling it between them. I made the log about 1 and 1/4 inches diameter and cut slices 1/4 inch thick. These spread to about 2 and 1/2 inches. You can make bigger or smaller rolls if you like.

About greasing the pan -- older recipes call for it, it helps the cookies spread, but the newer nonstick pans do the job without it. For this recipe, I greased each pan once, then reused them without a problem.

And by the way, they’re delicious, miles better than the slice and bake cookies for sale in the market.

Refrigerator Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Colored sugar, for decorating (a few tablespoons)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Tear off two pieces of wax paper, each long enough to wrap the finished roll. Have colored sugar nearby in opened container or small bowl.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Add sugar, beat until creamy. Add the beaten egg until incorporated, then the 2 tsp. of vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until sides of the bowl are clean. Dough should not be too sticky.

Sprinkle one piece of waxed paper with about a tablespoon of colored sugar. Shape the dough into a log, roll back and forth on the wax paper, adding sugar as needed to cover the outside of the roll. Roll into desired thickness.

Wrap roll tightly in second piece of wax paper, then tightly in a plastic bag. Try to remove most of the air from the bag. Transfer to refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut roll into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Turn the roll as you slice to maintain a round shape. Bake on a greased cookie sheet 8 minutes until lightly browned, cool on pan a minute or so then remove to rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 45 2-1/2 inch cookies.

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