When I was young, icebox cookies were my most favouritest of favourite holiday treats.
Light and crispy, flecked with sweet ruby red and emerald green maraschino cherries — it’s enough to make any kid’s mouth water.
My mom used to pick up bags of icebox cookies from a local bakery and think she could hide them from me in the freezer, but I always knew where they were — and I would always sneak cookies here and there when she wasn’t looking.
For me, icebox cookies have never really lost their nostalgia, although my tastes have definitely matured since I was 10!
This recipe is very straight-forward as far as icebox cookies go, but I’ve added a bit of toasted coconut for some extra texture and depth of flavour.
Flaked (or shredded) coconut is normally something you wouldn’t want to include in a crumbly cookie. Toasting the coconut, however, completely changes it — it goes from being soft and chewy to melt-in-your-mouth crispy!
Toasted Coconut Icebox Cookies
*adapted from The Joy of Baking
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup toasted flake coconut
- 3/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
Preheat the oven to 300°F (or 150°C).
Spread your coconut on a ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 300°F for 7 ~ 10 minutes. Start watching it carefully at the 4 minute mark — stir it a little, and make sure it doesn’t burn (which can happen really fast if you’re not careful).
Once the coconut is all golden brown, remove it from the oven and let it cool. At this point, you can turn the oven off.
Cream butter and white sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the extracts, then the egg.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cooled coconut.
Gently mix the flour and coconut mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, and then fold in the chopped maraschino cherries.
Divide the dough into thirds, or in half, and shape it into round logs about 1.5 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap or wax paper.
If you plan on saving the cookies for another day, then put the dough logs directly into the freezer — otherwise, put them in the refrigerator for at 3 hours (they’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F (or 190°C).
Slice dough logs into cookies that are approximately 1/4th of an inch (0.5 cm) thick. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about an inch apart.
Bake for 7 ~ 9 minutes, or until just before the edges start to brown. That’s it!
Icebox cookies are especially awesome during the holidays, because the dough can be made ahead of time and then frozen for up to 6 months.
When you have a log of slice-n-bake dough in your freezer, you’re never more than 10 minutes away from fresh-baked cookies — which can be a real life saver during the winter holiday rush! Yum!