Icebox cookies might as well be called convenience cookies. Just make the batter, roll it up, place it in your refrigerator or freezer, and you can have thin, flat cookies on demand anytime you want them.
In addition to their convenience, the hallmark of icebox cookies is their wafer-like, crumbly, sandy texture. To achieve this, it’s important to use two types of sugar: granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar. The granulated sugar gives the cookie some structure and a good snap, while the confectioners’ sugar ensures tenderness. Together, they make for the shortbreadlike texture you want—and a cookie that’s ready to bake whenever the craving hits.
HOW TO MAKE ICEBOX COOKIES
1. Beat the butter and sugars together: Beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. When the butter-sugar mixture has the right consistency, you can beat in the egg yolks and vanilla.
2. Slowly add the flour mixture: After the egg yolks have been incorporated into the butter-sugar mixture, turn the mixer to low and slowly beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated. If using a hand mixer, it can be tricky to add the flour and mix at the same time; if so, just add the flour in small batches, stopping the mixer as needed.
3. Divide the dough and roll into logs: Transfer the dough to a clean counter and roll it into a 2-inch-thick log (the length of the log will depend on the specific recipe). If the dough is sticky and hard to roll, simply chill it for a few minutes.
4. Twist and chill: Transfer the log of dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap tightly. Twisting the ends of the plastic wrap helps the dough keep its shape. Try to square off the ends as much as possible. Chill the wrapped dough in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
5. Slice the dough thin: Once the dough is firm, slice it into ¼-inch-thick cookies. If the cookies are too thick, they will not bake properly. Give the log a little roll between slices to help keep it round.
6. Bake a lot at once: Lay the cookies on large parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about ¾ inch apart. You can fit a lot of icebox cookies, about 24, on the same baking tray because they don’t spread much.
MAKE IT NOW: Try our recipe for Vanilla Icebox Cookies.