Recipe: Tennessee Icebox Cookies

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tennessee Icebox Cookies

Makes about 40 thin cookies

This easy recipe doubles and triples easily, which is a good thing: The cookies disappear quickly. Adapted from Nick Malgieri, who obtained this version from Tammy T. Algood, columnist for the Tennessean and food specialist at the University of Tennessee; it was her grandmother's recipe.

You may freeze the logs of dough for several weeks before baking them. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before trying to slice. Store the finished cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Or freeze, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

1 1/2 cups flour,

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt on a square of waxed paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a stand or hand electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar for about 1 minute, just until combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for several minutes, until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Using a spatula, add the flour mixture and the almonds, mixing until a dough forms; make sure the almonds are well distributed. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll the dough under the palms of your hands to form an even cylinder/log, about 10 inches long. Wrap it tightly in parchment paper or waxed paper and refrigerate for up to several days. (At this point, the dough can be frozen.)

When ready to bake, position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Use a sharp knife to cut the unwrapped dough into 1/4 -inch slices, rolling the cylinder of dough after each slice to avoid distorting the shape of the dough. Space the cookies about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are slightly puffed, dull in appearance and firm to the touch. About halfway through the baking time, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front. Bake the remaining sheet of cookies on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.

Per cookie: 79 calories, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 24 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Tom Wilkinson; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com


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