Brown Sugar Ice Box Cookies are a simple and crunchy cookie made with butter, brown sugar, and coated in toasted nuts. Drizzled with melted chocolate, these easy melt in your mouth slice and bake cookies are a must add to your holiday baking list!
These brown sugar cookies are a little more traditional but are so customizable you could easily make 30 variations all out of the same dough.
There is something so nostalgic about classic Christmas cookies. They are never complicated or fussy and the best ones are usually made with simple ingredients and a lot of love. These are also good for gifts for neighbors or as a simple offering for a dessert after a holiday meal!
This recipe is from my grandma Oma’s recipe box so if you’re looking to recreate a tried and true version of delicious refrigerator cookies, this is the recipe for you.
A very tasty, buttery, melt in your mouth cookie, perfect for dunking in a glass of cold milk or snacking on with while sipping on a cup of tea. The texture of the toasted pecans with the crunchy texture of the cookie combined with the pecan sugar flavor is everything you’re looking for in a simply made cookie.
Baking cookies from scratch gives you the signature mouthwatering aroma of cookies right out of the oven. Way better than store-bought, these not only taste better but are so convenient. You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or even freezer until you are ready to slice and bake!
Wrap them in a beautiful box and they make a thoughtful homemade gift or add them to your dessert table at your holiday gatherings. These crispy cookies with a very tender crumb are ready to bake, dip and devour in a myriad of ways.
Whatever you do, just make sure to leave a couple for Santa!
Christmas Cookies Week
This week I’m bringing you ALL THE COOKIES you’ll ever need for mailing this Christmas! I’m a part of Christmas cookies Week with many other food writers sharing all new recipes.
I’ve been given some products to showcase in these recipes but as always the opinions are all mine. I’d like to thank Analon, Adams Extract and Milliken Pecan Company for their generous donations for making this giveaway possible.
These slice and bake cookies were baked on the Analon Pan, I used the Milliken Pecans to coat the logs and the vanilla from Adams Extract to create this delicious and addictive cookie!
What are ice box cookies?
Icebox cookies were created in times of the depression for the “icebox” which was the earlier version of a refrigerator. A box of ice on top and on the bottom of a box kept foods cold. This is where people would keep things to use to bake later on.
Over time, we have made improvements (and also now own refrigerators) and have made it so we can prepare the dough and freeze it until we are ready to slice-and-bake the amount of cookie dough we want to use and keep the rest for later. This allows us to have cookies at a moment’s notice.
Cookies are usually rolled into logs and coated with any topping you like, such as chocolate chips, toffee bits, and nuts to name a few. You then chill for at least an hour before slicing to harden the butter. You have to chill so that the cookies don’t spread too thin. It makes it so you can keep uniform baking times and shapes.
Tips for making icebox cookies successfully
- Measure everything carefully. Remember, baking is a science and using too much flour will change the texture of the cookie.
- Don’t skimp on the chill time. There is a reason they’re called refrigerator cookies. Despite the fact that you may be tempted to bake them, you have to give them ample time to chill. The shape and texture depend on it!
- Place flour on the surface of your parchment paper or place some flour where you are going to roll them into a log. It makes it easier to get them to the log shape.
- Following the measurements of the log and the width of the disks you cut are crucial for baking time. If you make them wider or thicker, you will need to adjust the cooking time.
- Protect the dough in your fridge by wrapping in parchment or plastic wrap to avoid odors of other things getting into your cookies.
- Store the log on top of a towel folded in half so that the shape doesn’t get flat while chilling.
Ingredients for Pecan Ice Box Cookies
For this recipe, you’ll need your baking basics, of course, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and eggs but there are a few other key ingredients that can either make or break your cookies.
Use fresh good quality Vanilla. Adams Extract has been used in my kitchen, and my Mom’s kitchen before that.
You’ll want to pay close attention to the butter and shortening. Do not substitute either! If you substitute the shortening with butter flavor it will change the texture.
The butter is what gives the cookies that buttery, melt in your mouth decadence so you do not want to skimp on this! Trust me, use real, unsalted butter.
You can use either packed light or dark brown sugar. Keep in mind, I do recommend light brown sugar as it will result in a softer cookie, will have less of a molasses flavor, and will be lighter in color. But really it’s up to you!
This is completely optional, but toasting the pecans before you ground or chop them up will give them a nice crunchy texture and will enhance their nutty flavor. The Millican Pecans were so fresh but I toast them for added crunch.
The chocolate drizzle on top is also another option, these cookies are perfectly delicious without it. It does, however, elevate the presentation and of course, adds a nice chocolate flavor to every bite. See below for pro tips on the BEST chocolate to use!
How to make brown sugar icebox cookies
- In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar with an electric mixer.
- Add brown sugar, baking soda and salt and continue to beat until combined. Scrape the sides clean.
- Beat in the egg and Adams Extract Vanilla to combine.
- Add in the flour and ground nuts and mix completely.
- Once the dough is formed, divide it in half. Place both halves onto their own sheet of parchment paper. Form the dough into a loaf and if desired coat with chopped Millican Pecans.
- Using the parchment paper, roll the dough into a log shape, and twist the ends of the parchment paper to close the log wrapped up evenly.
- Place in fridge to chill. If you are wanting to freeze one or both of your rolls for a later date, this is the time to do that.
- Once chilled and set, take dough out of the fridge and preheat the oven.
- Cut the loaves into even slices and place evenly on an ungreased cookie sheet. Leaving enough room between cookies to spread without clumping together.
- Bake until the edges are firm (and your house smells incredible). Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle with melted chocolate if you’d like.
How beautiful is this Analon Cookie Sheet? I was pleasantly surprised how even the baking was and how I didn’t have to use parchment paper to have the cookies not stick. It’s got a nice handle to hold and it’s very nicely balanced.
Pro Tips: How to slice the cookies so they don’t crack
- Use a large flat-edged knife.
- Run it in hot water to heat it up, dry the knife.
- Place one hand on the log, then slice firmly in a quick motion.
- Maintain the same thickness of each cut.
- If the knife gets coated, clean the knife.
- If the dough gets too soft, re-chill for 5 minutes.
When drizzling chocolate you need to start with good chocolate.
I use Ghiradelli chocolate chip or chunks of chocolate from Valrhona or Godiva. Good chocolate makes all the difference and it doesn’t take a lot.
How to melt chocolate quickly for drizzling
Place into a microwave-safe bowl. I break it into chunks or use a knife to cut into large chunks.
Microwave in 30-second increments, then remove and stir. Repeat until completely melted. Don’t be tempted to microwave for longer, the chocolate will break and possibly burn. You can also use a double broiler.
The pecan coating is just one of many sensational coating options!
- Dried cranberries
- Chocolate chips
- Cocoa powder
- Crushed peppermint
- Toffee pieces
- Sprinkles, nonpareils, jimmies
- White or dark chocolate drizzle
I like rolling the logs into the coatings but you could also stir these toppings into the cookies. They are very easy to customize which means there is something for everyone.
How long do these cookies last in the fridge?
The dough will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Separate them using parchment paper in an airtight container. If you want it to last longer you’ll need to freeze the logs.
How to freeze these refrigerator cookies?
Wrap the unbaked dough logs in plastic or parchment paper, then place it in a sealed plastic container or zip lock bag. They will keep for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use them remove them and let them thaw in the fridge overnight.
You can also freeze already baked cookies, undrizzled, for up to 3 months.
Equipment that is helpful to make Ice Box Cookies
- Piping bags These work great for getting the chocolate on top of the cookies. You can also use a fork, but I find I waste a lot of chocolate with just a fork or spoon. You can control exactly where to put the chocolate with the piping bag and it comes out evenly.
- Analon Cookie Sheet – these were weighted nicely and the cookies baked up just perfectly with them.
- Parchment Paper – you can purchase it by the roll, or by sheets to match your cookie sheet size
Other cookies you might like
- Tropical Christmas Cookies
- Lemon Gooey Crinkle Cookies
- Chewy Chocolate Cookies
- Cappuccino Crinkles –
- Holiday 7 layer bars (coming soon)
- Eggnog Sugar Cookies (coming soon
More Holiday Sweet Treats
- Peanut Clusters
- Eggnog Cakes with praline topping
- Pecan Pralines (coming soon)
- Pumpkin Ice Cream (no churn)
- 1/2 Cup Shortening
- 1/2 Cup Butter (no substitutions)
- 1 1/4 Cups Packed Brown Sugar (light) ** See Note 1
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Egg, large
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 Cup ground Pecans
- 2/3 Cup Toasted Pecans, chopped
- 4 ounces Chocolate, melted for drizzling (Optional)
- Beat shortening and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla thoroughly.
- Add the flour and the 3/4 cup of ground nuts and mix completely.
- Divide the dough in half. On parchment paper shape each half into a 10-inch long loaf. Lift and smooth the parchment to help shape the log evenly. If desired, roll the loaves in the chopped nuts.
- Roll up the logs in parchment, twisting the ends and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours. (At this point, if you want to freeze them for baking later you will use plastic wrap then foil to wrap them to better protect them during freezing)
- Heat oven to 375°
- Cut loaves into 1/4" inch thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. If desired drizzle with chocolate (Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments until fully melted.)
- Place in layers separated by parchment paper. in an airtight container. Store cookies for up to a week at room temperature.
- You can freeze already baked, un-drizzled cookies for up to three months.
- Light or dark brown sugar will work fine. Dark brown sugar will yield a softer cookie and a darker brown cookie. The dark brown sugar will also have a stronger molasses flavor.
- If freezing the dough before baking they will keep for 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator until sliceable. The dough should be chilled or they will spread out too far.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 35mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.
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