Chameleon Icebox Cookies

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to get an amazing dessert, and the holiday season is the perfect time to revisit old-fashioned cookies that have been around for decades.

When I was little and would go to the grocery store with my mom, I’d always sit on the bottom of the cart. As a treat for not being a hyper-active brat, we’d scoot our way to the bakery section. Of course, I could never figure out why we couldn’t buy the biggest and prettiest cake (it was the weekly wedding cake on display-a concept my already pastry-loving mind couldn’t process), but I’d always get a special cookie: a cross between a sugar cookie and butter cookie. These chameleon cookies are a throw-back to those days of “thank you so much, kiddo, for not making a scene at Harris Teeter.”

What’s also wonderful about these cookies is that they’re extremely easy to make and can be doctored for a variety of flavors-I’ll list some below. However, the plain kind with just a little crust of sugar on the outside is still my favorite.

My favorite version is the kid version with the colored sugar crust on the outside.

Recipe from Southern Living. Makes roughly 30-40 cookies.

Equipment:

  • Electric mixer
  • Wax paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

Combine flour and salt and then add to the butter mix, beating at medium-low speed just until blended. Cover and chill dough in the fridge at least 1 hour.

Shape the dough into 2 (6-inch) logs. Wrap logs in wax paper or parchment paper. Freeze until firm. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 min. or until BARELY golden. Remove to wire racks and let cool completely.

Variations:

Kids’ cookies: Roll 1 log in green decorators sugar crystals and the other log in red crystals (other colors will work fine as well). Proceed with recipe as directed.

Bittersweet chocolate and orange essence cookies: Stir 1/2 cup (4 oz.) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1 Tbl. orange zest into dough. Proceed with recipe as directed. Bake 12-13 min. or until golden.

Strawberry-pecan cookies: Stir 3/4 cup finely chopped dried strawberries into dough. Roll logs in 1 cup finely chopped pecans. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Lavender cookies: Stir 1 1/2 Tbl. dried lavender, lightly crushed, into dough. Proceed with recipe as directed.

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