January 15, 2011

Cherry IceBox Cookies

December was a busy month for me.  As the Director of Music Ministries for my church, I had lots of extra music to plan and prepare, which included directing and preparing an adult vocal choir, an adult handbell choir, coordinating with a children's program, and preparing and playing all the service music.  This year's cantata was an ambitious one, and we had several extra rehearsals.  Between squeezing in all of that after my usual 40-hour workweek and the usual holiday decorating and gatherings, I didn't have a lot of spare time. 

Enter IowaSue's great recipe for icebox cookies.  I'd never baked an icebox cookie before, because I tend to want instant gratification when I bake! I have to say, though, the whole concept is AMAZING, especially for cooks who don't have a lot of time.  You make the dough, and then freeze it in long rolls to slice and bake later.  So, theoretically, if I'd made a different batch of dough every night for a week, I could bake up 7 different kinds of cookies all on one day.  Instant cookie plates, with just the cookie sheets to wash up.  Brilliant!  I didn't manage that this year, but I'm definitely planning more icebox cookie recipes for next December.

Not so appealing now, but just wait!

Tip:  Buy your candied cherries right after Christmas and save a bundle.  I scored several large containers of the more popular red cherries for 50 cents apiece, and got 2 small containers of green cherries for the same price.  If you go to the baking section, they are regularly priced just under $4 for the exact same thing.  Bonus tip:  Working with lunchlady gloves keeps the dough from sticking to your hands or any rings you might be wearing.  We buy Ansell Vinyl Touch one-use gloves by the box at Walmart in the first aid section. 

Once the rolls of dough are assembled, wrap them up and freeze them at least overnight.  When ready to bake, remove from freezer, cut into slices and bake.  I wondered how easy it would be to cut slices from frozen-solid dough, but it worked just fine.  Aren't they pretty? 

I'm thinking that all red-cherry cookies would be great for Valentine's day, and all-green cherry cookies would be perfect for St. Pat's.

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