Haven’t found any spare hours to do some holiday baking? There’s still time and my great aunt’s gingersnaps recipe is a cinch to make. Audrey was my favorite paternal aunt. She was an elegant, refined, woman who loved to cook, had a twinkle in her eye, and if you were in her company, she always made you feel good. In her heyday, she was the quintessential ‘hostess with the mostest’. Her husband, Jim, was a bank manager and they were always entertaining. Boy, could she whip up deliciously amazing hors d’oeuvres!
Audrey’s style of cooking always seemed effortless, with beautiful presentations and most of all, she enjoyed feeding others. Oh, and she also had an impish side to her. She’d say something to me, which would catch me off guard, and then I’d see the twinkle in her eye. Reminiscing these thoughts has made me miss her all the more. When you bake these cookies, I wonder what fond memories will surface from your past?
The term icebox refers to a time before refrigerators (19th century until the 1930’s). A large block of ice would be placed in a compartment near the top of the box. Iceboxes were typically made of wood and many were lovely pieces of carved furniture. Icebox cookies are slice-and-bake cookies where the dough is formed into a log, chilled in the refrigerator (also known as an icebox), and then sliced into rounds before baking.
Chilling the dough helps to keep its shape and less chance of it spreading on the baking tray while in the oven. Make a double batch and freeze the rest. When needed, remove from freezer and slice off. Bake as needed. If this is your first time making icebox cookies, follow the instructions below.
Preheat oven to 400f (200c).
Grab a medium bowl and mix flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture just until blended. Roll dough into logs roughly 6 to 8-inches long . Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 8 hours or up to 3 days. As my aunt says, slice (1/4-inch slices) and bake 10 to 12 minutes.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I find it easier to place the cookie dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and use this to form the log. Fold the sides of the plastic wrap over the dough and roll into a cylinder to the desired length. Less mess and keeps your hands cleaner. Enjoy!