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Conquering Mocha Icebox Cookies

Sugaring the mocha icebox cookies
I conquered a fear tonight – I’m not talking something profound like coming to a peace agreement with spiders, or nimbly climbing up to the rooftop via ladder, no, my fear was icebox cookies.  They’re one of those recipes I’ve bookmarked and pinned and yet skirted around the edges of ever baking.

Why are they scary?  They’re nostalgic.  Not personally nostalgic, I don’t remember them from my childhood or anything, but I do imagine them being baked by those perfect 50s housewives with their cute little aprons tied with bows, the recipe on a handwritten recipe card or followed from a church social cookbook, and served to children wearing saddle shoes and button up shirts when they get home from school. (Before she has her evening cocktail, of course.)  Many of the recipes I had pinned in the past also required cream cheese or sour cream, neither of which I have in the house regularly.

Why tackle the ice box cookie fear tonight?

I needed cookies for a fundraiser so I finally took on the challenge.  I had sour cream and cream cheese in the house and of course the recipe I chose required neither.  Instead of a cute cookbook I had the internet and had already sent off one terse note to Martha Stewart’s web team about the fact that several of her icebox cookie recipes (displayed in their cool parallax scrolling format) were missing the baking temperature and times before I found the recipe I tried. I was dressed in my power baking outfit of yoga pants and an Old Navy tank top which would get fully dusted in flour while my one cute apron languished, flour dust free, on a hook by the fridge.

I wanted a cookie that looked like I put more work into it than I did, quite honestly.  The chilling requirement of the refrigerator cookies meant that I could create a shaped cookie (triangles) without any rolling and cutting with cookie cutters. Score!  The mocha flavor of the cookies I chose meant they were rich and dark and the sanding sugar on the edges made them sparkle, or so I think.  I think they’re pretty cute cookies all in all, and they were super easy.

Shape the dough into your triangles before you refrigerate it,
then chill it for an hour and slice your cookies.
Brush the edges with water and roll in sanding sugar to get the fun edges.

These little morsels taste amazing – I left out the chocolate nibs from this Mocha Slice Cookies recipe (one where Martha’s crew did include the pertinent details) because I didn’t have them in the house and the last time I bought them I wasn’t that impressed with their flavor.  But I did have plenty of espresso powder from previous tiramisu ventures and it really complements the cocoa, I think straight up chocolate might have been a little boring.

Rows and rows of Mocha goodness.

I thought the presentation should be cute to go with my cookies, so I found free printable labels courtesy of Cupcake Express – you can find a copy here if you dig chevrons and polka dots as much as I do: http://cupcakeexpressblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/happy-friday-free-printable-food-labels.html.  Don’t forget to share the love and like Cupcake Express on Facebook as a thank you.

Since I’m giving all but a few of these away tomorrow for a friend’s bake sale, another batch is on my to-do list.  I’m not sure if I’m going to get to the point where I keep the dough ready to go in the fridge/freezer or not.  That sounds like it would be far too easy to make a batch whenever I want them, which might be every night.  It would be good to have them around for last-minute baking needs though.  I’ll have to think about that one.

Now that I’m not so afraid of icebox cookies the variations are endless.  Just tonight I saw recipes for vanilla icebox cookies with candied cherries for the holidays, ginger lemon icebox cookies for no-reason-required, and even chai icebox cookies that I will need to try.

They’re also crazy popular on Pinterest too – just check out the results for boards on icebox cookies. What’s your favorite icebox cookie? Or have you harbored some silly fear that’s kept you from making them too?

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