Recipe: Homemade Slice-and-Bake Cookies (a.k.a. Ice Box Cookies)

For most colleges and graduate schools, it’s final exam time, which means there are countless 20-somethings, my boyfriend included, stressing out, staying up late, and eating junk food just to make it through. I thought it would be fun to send a care package to John with some homemade cookies and other goodies to make his law school exam studying a little less awful, and I decided to try out a cookie recipe from one of my recent Bake 1 classes. Ice Box cookies, are they are officially called, are essentially homemade slice-and-bake cookies, called “ice box cookies” because the dough can be made up and then stored in the fridge (or “ice box”), and cookies can then be sliced off one at a time and baked fresh rather than be baked all in one batch. They’re very easy to make, and you can dress them up by dying and rolling/shaping the dough into a variety of patterns, including the pinwheel (which I made for John) and checkerboard.

Yields: Approx. 3 dozen cookies (depends on how thin you slice them)
Prep. time: 10 minutes, plus time to chill the dough
Baking time: 12-15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (rolling into shapes takes a little skill)
Special equipment: Rolling pin


  • 2 sticks (or 8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Food coloring of your choice

In the bowl of an electric/stand mixer, cream together the two types of sugar and butter (cream together: using the paddle attachment, blend on low to medium-low speed until the sugar and butter are well-blended; a few small lumps are okay). Add the egg yolks and vanilla and blend on medium-low speed until incorporated. Slowly add in the flour, a little bit at a time, until it is all blended into the dough and the dough is slightly sticky, soft, and pale yellow/khaki in color. 
To create a solid-colored dough: Add the food coloring of your choice to the dough and gently knead it into the dough until the dough is completely colored. Wrap the dough up in saran wrap or put in a bowl covered over with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm it up. Remove from the fridge and roll into a large log, then return and chill until it’s able to be cleanly sliced through (about 1-2 hours, or 10 minutes in the freezer). 
To create a pinwheel pattern: Divide the dough into two even pieces (it’s easiest to weigh each piece on a kitchen scale so that you get equal pieces). You can dye one or both pieces (obviously, use two different colors if you choose to dye both). Gently knead food coloring into one or both dough balls until the dough is completely colored. Wrap the dough balls up separately in saran wrap or put in bowls covered over with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm them up. Remove one dough ball and lay it out on a long piece of wax paper covered in a second sheet of wax paper. Tape down the wax paper sheets (just a small piece of tape along the top, bottom, and sides—packing tape holds really well), so they don’t move around when you start to roll out the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into one long, wide sheet, then remove the tape tape from the wax paper and lay the dough on a sheet pan in the fridge to chill for at least an hour (or chill in the freezer for 5-10 minutes). Repeat this process with the other piece of dough. Once both pieces have been chilled, remove them from the fridge (1), remove the wax paper from on top of each (2 and 3) and flip one on top of the other as centered as possible (4). Trim the edges with a knife or pizza cutter (5) to create a straight-edged, even rectangle. The trimmings can be mushed together to create a tie-dye ball of dough that can also be rolled into a log and sliced up into cookies (see #6). Roll the rectangle into a log (you’ll be able to see the pinwheel shape when you look at the ends of the log) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or freezer for 10 minutes). Either store it in the fridge and slice off cookies as needed, or slice the cooled log down into even slices (6) and get ready to bake. 
To bake them: Preheat the oven to 325*F. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, lay out the cookie slices with an inch or two of space in between each. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly crispy around the edges and cooked through in the middle, but still soft (they should not be very golden-brown at all though, because that means they’re overdone). Remove from the oven, chill on the sheet pan, then remove to a wire rack to chill completely. Store in an airtight container (or eat a bunch right away, haha).




6 (this roll was made from the scraps of the pinwheel roll)

These cookies are buttery, sugary, and so much fun! They’re a great thing to keep in the fridge if you have kids—you can always have fresh-baked cookies when they get home from school or when they want a snack to eat while they work on homework. They’re also great as a simple dessert or easy bake sale item, and they hold up really well in the mail (so they’re great for to send for Christmas or birthdays). They can be completely sliced up and baked all together too because they keep for days!


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