The Weekly Kitchen: Enjoying some old-fashioned refrigerator cookies


By ANGELA McRAE, Special to The Weekly

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a tea where all the ladies brought a food to share. We enjoyed hot tea, finger sandwiches, and sweet treats, and I noticed that the cookies were a big hit. Some were chewy and had a crackled appearance, and others were decorated with pastel M&M’s to mimic the design of flower petals.

Cookies are so simple to make, and I’ve heard it said that if you’re aiming for portion control, cookies are good to have on hand because they’re already in small portions. (This assumes, of course, that you don’t eat a whole plateful of them.)

Those tea party cookies made me want to try a new cookie recipe, and I knew just the one. It was an old handwritten recipe from one of my vintage recipe boxes from the antique mall. The recipe was for a classic refrigerator cookie, and I’ve always liked to make those since they come out so perfectly.

What’s a refrigerator cookie? It’s simply one in which the dough is rolled into a log and then refrigerated overnight so that it can easily be sliced before baking. Some food historians say refrigerator cookies date to the 1920s, when refrigerators became more common, and new recipes were developed because of these newfangled devices.

A refrigerator is no longer a novelty, and thank goodness for that! I’m so happy to be able to roll up that refrigerator cookie dough and plop it inside overnight. Because this dough is sliced and not scooped up one cookie at a time, the actual baking doesn’t take very long at all. A little slicing, a little baking, and these delicious cookies are ready in a flash. Since they bake for just 5 minutes, you won’t be hanging out in the kitchen all day or killing time between 20-minute baking sessions.

It’s also nice that the recipe’s author called these “nut” cookies, which means the baker is free to use whatever nuts they have on hand. I had just shelled some pecans, and I highly recommend them in these tasty, easy cookies.

Vanilla Nut Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Using a large bowl, sift flour once, add baking powder and salt, sift again, and set aside. In separate bowl, cream butter thoroughly. Gradually add sugars and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg, nuts, and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, incorporating just a portion at a time. Blend well. Shape into logs 1-1/2 inches in diameter and roll in wax paper. Chill in refrigerator overnight or until firm enough to slice. Once the logs have chilled, cut them into 1/8-inch slices and bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Yields 5 dozen cookies.

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