Sweet and Light: Icebox Cookies for Portion Control

Even though it's January and we're bidding goodbye to the excess of the holidays, we're not quite ready to pitch sweets overboard. It's so comforting in the deep cold of January to have a sweet nibble with hot tea in the evening. But we also don't want entire platters of cookies or triple-layer cakes lying about. Elizabeth already mentioned the benefits of mini desserts in getting your sweet fix while trying to keep it light.

Here's one more suggestion: icebox cookies!

Icebox cookies, also known as freezer cookies, are cookies made from dough that is usually rolled into a log and chilled or frozen. The frozen dough can be sliced off, just one or two cookies at a time, and baked.

We often keep a log of icebox cookies in our freezer during the winter. We keep the logs tightly rolled so they make dainty little cookies, a la Elizabeth's tip, and we ration the dough out for weeks to satisfy our sweet tooth. The work of slicing and baking is just enough to inhibit unfortunate late night cravings (which we are really trying to discourage!), but it's still quick enough that we can have a treat after dinner.

Of course, icebox cookies are good for lots more than portion control and curbing a sweet tooth. They are great for unexpected visitors, and for winter parties. You can do almost all the work of baking ahead of time, but still have fresh baked cookies, warm from the oven, when your guests arrive.

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Here are three favorite icebox cookies:

Earl Grey Tea Cookies - Very easy to whip up in a food processor.
Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls - A little more time intensive, but oh goodness. My very, very favorite cookie!
Intensely Dark Chocolate Ice Box Cookies - An honorable mention in last winter's Bittersweet Baking contest. Pink and chocolate!

What are your favorite icebox cookies? Do you keep a log around in the winter?

Related: Tip: Freezing Cookie Dough

(Top image: Faith Durand; Cookie images, left to right: Faith Durand, Romulo Yanes for Gourmet, Rachel of Coconut & Lime)

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Healthy Living, Sweets

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.