Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eats: Grandmother's Ice Box Cookie Recipe

Hello! Last month I blogged about my maternal grandmother's button tin. The same grandmother had also left behind a recipe card entitled "Ice Box Cookies". The recipe card had yellowed over time and the writing had faded. However, the card had many splatters on it, which proved that the cookies had been made at least a few times. Alas, I don't know where the recipe came from, or if it had been written in my grandmother's hand.

I had volunteered to make four dozen cookies for an upcoming function, so I decided it'd be fun to try this recipe. There was one big problem, though: the recipe card only listed the ingredients - no mention on how to mix the dough, prepare it for chilling, what oven temperature to use, how long to bake it - you know, useful information like that! Perhaps these instructions were on another recipe card that had gotten lost. No matter, I just consulted a few other refrigerator cookie recipes to get the missing steps. 

Here's the recipe, along with some notes. Mixing/shaping/baking steps were added by me.

Ice Box Cookies

2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup lard
3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nutmeats
1 cup raisins

Cream together brown sugar, lard and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and blend well. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, and add to sugar/butter/egg mixture. Blend well. Grind nuts and raisins until fine in food processor; stir into dough. 

Shape dough into 3 - 9" logs and wrap each log in parchment paper, plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate until firm, several hours or overnight. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet. Unwrap dough, one log at the time, and slice about 1/4" thick. Place on cookie sheet, about 2" apart and bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to cool further. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

Notes: I used all butter instead of half lard/half butter - thus, a total of 1 1/2 cups (three sticks) butter. Since it's the holiday season, I used the same amount of dried cranberries instead of the raisins, and I used toasted pecans for the nuts. I really wasn't sure how many logs I should shape the dough into, but the 3 - 9" logs seemed like they would yield nice-sized cookies. 

And now for a few pictures:

One of the cookie logs, ready to slice and bake. You can see the ground dried cranberries in the dough. 

Portion of the cookie sheet, ready to pop into the oven. 

A couple of baked cookies ready to be sampled. These ended up a bit on the large side, around 3 1/2"x 2 1/2". The size of this type of cookie can easily be adjusted by shaping the dough into smaller-diameter logs. (This would increase the yield too, of course). But remember, I was working with an incomplete set of directions, so overall I think they turned out pretty well!

And as for the taste? Well, with all that brown sugar and butter, the cookies have a butterscotch-y flavor. The raisins originally called for - or some mini chocolate chips - might have worked better with that flavor than the dried cranberries do. Or I could have added some orange peel to accentuate the cranberries.

Still, it was a fun cookie to make, and I liked using a recipe that had once belonged to my grandmother.


  1. Maybe I'll make these for the youth group bake sale?

  2. You could chop up and add M&Ms instead. Hmmmm.

  3. M&M's sounds like a great idea! And this time of year, the holiday ones would be nice! Too bad I didn't think of it in advance. Good luck if you decide to make them for the youth group bake sale. It really is a pretty easy way to make cookies, since the dough sliced up so nicely once chilled.