Get holiday-ready with a stash of slice-and-bake cookie dough in the freezer
Sure, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays can sometimes feel like a blizzard of office parties, concerts, school events, and family get-togethers. One tactic for keeping your cool? Fill your freezer with dough for slice-and-bake cookies, also known as icebox or freezer cookies. Then, as celebrations come up, you’re just a preheated oven away from fresh, warm homemade treats.
To get ahead of the festivities, keep these tips for baking cut-and-bake cookies in mind:
Assemble all your ingredients
Select a few slice-and-bake recipes and assemble your ingredients. You’ll likely need more flour, sugar, eggs and Challenge Butter than you normally would, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Gather your gear
Slice-and-bake cookie dough is usually rolled and shaped into logs in wax paper or parchment paper. Recipes such as our Walnut Crusted Butter Wafers or Chocolate Pistachio Wafers may specify one or the other, but either paper works. For our Ginger Lemon Slices, the recipe calls for pressing dough into a wax paper lined 9x5x3-inch loaf pan to achieve a rectangular slice-and-bake cookie.
Soften up (but not too much)
If your Challenge Butter is too firm, it will be impossible to blend with the other ingredients, however if it’s too soft, it won’t hold all those ingredients together. Bring the butter to just below room temperature for the perfect grippy consistency and tender resulting cookies.
While the dough for cut-and-bake cookies typically comes together in a flash, most recipes require the dough to chill quite a while before it can be sliced and baked. This ensures an easy-to-slice dough. For our Chocolate Pistachio Wafers, Walnut Crusted Butter Wafers and Ginger Lemon Slices, recommended chill time is between 2 and 3 hours. If the dough is too stiff to handle when you bring it out of the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for several minutes before slicing.
Sharpen the right knife
To bake up beautiful cookies whose shape hasn’t been squashed or pinched, use the right knife for slicing. With dough that’s been coated in crushed nuts like our Chocolate Pistachio Wafers or Walnut Crusted Butter Wafers, use a sharp serrated knife to gently saw through each log. For an uncoated dough like that of the Ginger Lemon Slices, use a non-serrated chef’s knife and, again, ensure that it’s been recently sharpened.
Measure twice, cut once
Cutting each cookie to the same width will help ensure even, uniform baking. The best way to measure? Use a ruler to guide your every slice.
Use what you need, freeze what you don’t
The beauty of icebox cookies is that you can bake as many or as few of them at a time as you need. Just rewrap any unused logs of dough in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. The ease and minimal cleanup of baking these delicious treats will make for a holly, jolly holiday, indeed.