Baking cookies seem to fill the house with a sense of well being and peace. Perhaps it is the smell of butter, vanilla, and spices emanating from the hot oven. Maybe it is the love and caring attention that is evident in cookies. Home, love, and cookies seem to go together.
Consider refrigerator, or icebox, cookies for the holidays. They can be made up ahead of time-even months ahead-and stored until ready to bake. Baking up those stored refrigerator cookies is mess free, takes little time, and you only need to bake what you need for the moment. Drop cookies are quick cookies; refrigerator cookies are convenient cookies.
Refrigerator cookies are also attractive cookies. Nothing beats the uniform slices and consistent shape of refrigerator cookies. To keep that uniform shape, slice while the dough is still cold and firm and turn the log after every few cookies to keep the log round. If the cookies have a flat edge, mold them back to shape with the curl of your finger before baking.
Roll the refrigerator cookies into logs (or blocks) as directed in the instructions then wrap them in waxed paper and aluminum foil. The logs can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for months. When you are ready to bake, remove the logs from the refrigerator to unthaw. It's easier to slice a log that is not completely thawed and the cookies bake fine-though you may need to add another minute or so.
Dennis Weaver is the general manager at The Prepared Pantry (http://www.preparedpantry.com) with recipes, ideas, and the best selection of mixes and ingredients. Visit the free Bakers' Library for more articles like this, free baking guides, and tested recipes.