My Grandma Brown was known for her Ice Box Cookies.  I visited my grandparent’s home mostly only during the summer or Christmas and these cookies were always there (we also always had Fudge at Christmas but I’ll write about that later).  Grandma made Ice Box cookies my whole life and my aunt remembers them always, too.  I don’t recall helping Grandma make these cookies other than slicing them probably because she had made the dough before I arrived at her home.

I found mention of Ice Box cookies as depression era food, which may very well be when Grandma started making them as she married in 1930.  When I mentioned these cookies by name yesterday, my daughter asked “what are Ice Box Cookies?”  They were originally named “ice box cookies” but today are often called “refrigerator cookies”.  They are made from a stiff dough that is formed into a roll or log and stored in the refrigerator before slicing and baking. You don’t have to roll the dough or use a cookie cutter and some people put things in the middle of the roll so that when you slice each cookie there is an interesting design in the middle.  My Grandma’s just had nuts mixed in.  The log of cookie dough keeps in the refrigerator or freezer for quite a while then whenever you want cookies simply slice the log, bake, and enjoy a hot, homemade cookie any time.  I presume these are an original version of the cookie dough we can now buy in the stores then slice and bake.

Just this weekend my Aunt Claudia let me borrow my Grandma Brown’s loose leaf cookbook with handwritten as well as newspaper clipping recipes.  I’m scanning them and transcribing them to put into an heirloom cookbook.  While I’ve had Grandma’s Ice Box Cookie recipe for years, now I have it in her handwriting.  I’ve made the cookies any number of times but not in several years.  Since my daughter asked what they are when I mentioned them, it’s time to make them again so she knows about her Great Grandmother’s Ice Box Cookies.

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Christmas 1967 - My Grandma, Ottie Brown (1908-1994)

Update: I made the cookies for the first time in years on Sunday, December 13, 2009 and took photos of the process for the heirloom cookbook I’m working on.

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This is my submission for the Advent Calendar Christmas Memories 2009