Originally published in The Collector’s Cookbook Woman’s Day December 1976
During my isolation, I have been baking for myself, but recently I was finally able to bake something for a friend of mine. Whenever I ask her what she would like me to bring into work, “Chocolate, anything chocolate,” are the first words out of her mouth. I searched through my recipes and decided to bake her some cookies, in part because I didn’t have any containers large enough to bake either a cake or cupcakes for her.
Way back in December 1976, my mother pulled this four-page insert The Collector’s Cookbook, Holiday Cookies and Candies from Woman’s Day Magazine. Of the 29 recipes, my family had only tried 4 of them, and of those 4 we only continued to make one of the recipes! So besides all the cookbooks I have bought, I also want to try all the recipes in this mini-collection.
The refrigerator cookie differs from most cookies in their thickness. They are usually formed into a roll and refrigerated for at least 24 hours. You can also prepare the recipe in advance and freeze it until you need it, but make sure you thaw it enough so you can slice through it. The dough is then sliced very thinly, about 3/16 inch thick. Yes, you will need to bring out your ruler for this! This gives a very crisp cookie. Personally, I am a fan of crisp cookies; however, most people prefer a softer texture. If you choose to cut your cookies thicker as I did, the yield of the recipe will be halved. The original recipe suggests a yield of 72 cookies, but since I chose to slice them thicker my yield was only 46. Refrigerator cookies or “icebox cookies” also hold their shape very well and do not spread very much when baking.
Once you form the two logs of dough, you roll it in chopped walnuts. As I usually suggest, use what nuts you have on hand or the nuts you prefer. In this case, I used a combination of walnuts and pecans. As you can see, my dough cracked a bit after refrigeration. Don’t worry if this happens to you. You can use this as one of your slices and then smooth out the edges afterwards. I did find that after the cookies were baked that the nuts fell off very easily, so I might suggest next time using an egg white wash on the dough prior to rolling it in the nuts, or you could just incorporate the nuts into the cookie itself.
Once the cookies are baked and cooled completely, the recipe calls for you to frost with sweet cooking chocolate. I’m not sure where Woman’s Day got that term, because I have never seen anything called cooking chocolate. Baker’s Chocolate, yes; however, it’s anything but sweet. I decided to do both dark chocolate (for me) and semi-sweet chocolate (for my friend). You can either melt down the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave or you can make a ganache by heating the chocolate with cream in a double boiler until just melted, which will give you a little smoother consistency to the chocolate. One discrepancy I found in the recipe is that it states that you should wait for the chocolate to harden. Unless you temper your chocolate, it is not going to harden completely. Because tempering chocolate is very time consuming and you need to work really fast, you can also use coating chocolate. Coating chocolate is simply 2 cups of chocolate melted with 2 teaspoons of shortening. I haven’t tried either tempering or coating chocolate, but even though they both need to be kept between certain temperatures, I think the coating chocolate a good alternative to tempering.
I hope both she and you enjoy them as much as I did.
Chocolate Refreigerator Cookies
Credit: The Collector’s Cookbook, Woman’s Day Magazine, December 1976
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 4 oz semi-sweet, dark or milk chocolate chips, melted
- Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy.
- Beat in egg.
- Stir in flour and cocoa until well blended.
- Chill dough in bowl about 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
- Form two rolls 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
- Roll in walnuts until well coated. Wrap airtight in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Slice dough in 3/16 inch slices (for 72 cookie yield) or 3/8 inch slices (for 46 cookie yield).
- Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about and inch apart.
- Bake 8 – 10 minutes.
- Allow cookie to cool completely before frosting.
- Melt chocolate in microwave or over a double boiler. Remove from heat and spread about 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate on each cookie.
- Let dry before storing.
- Replace butter or margarine with plant butter.
- Replace walnuts and pecans with peanuts or hazelnuts.
- Rather than rolling cookies in the nuts and coating with chocolate, include nuts and chips in the dough.