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Walnut Cherry Icebox Cookies

My nanna used to make the most wonderful icebox cookies that she baked and then stored in the freezer for safe keeping. I have many fond memories of weekends and summer vacations at nanna and grandpa’s house, which included swimming, campfires, cribbage, adventures, a mysterious cigarette making machine and last but not least sneaking cookies from the freezer in the back porch.

I have been thinking about these cookies quite a bit lately, since it is prime cookie making season, but am sorry to say that I do not have my nanna’s cookie recipe to share with you.

What I do have is a recipe for some very pretty cookies that I just can’t stop eating. I feel that I must also tell you that I am generally not a fan of cookies with nuts or candied cherries, let alone a cookie with both. These are absolutely delicious and would be a really good gift idea for that friend who isn’t very good at or doesn’t have enough time to bake. The logs of raw dough can be rolled up in pretty paper and given with slicing and baking instructions. Simple as that!

I insist you give these cookies a try. They may not be nanna’s but it seems likely they will make it into our family recipe tin.

Walnut Cherry Icebox Cookies

1 cup flour

½ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup icing sugar

Zest from one lemon

¾ cup candied cherries, chopped

½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

¼ cup coarse white sugar **This is essential**

Stir flour with cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon stir butter with icing sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, then cherries and nuts. (Dough will be slightly crumbly, but pliable.) Pour course sugar into a large, flat baking dish. Set aside.

Divide dough into two portions. Place each on a separate piece of wax paper. Form and roll into a log about 7 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. Roll each log in coarse sugar, pressing lightly so the sugar adheres to dough. Roll log in waxed paper and twist ends. Chill until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice logs into ¼ inch thin cookies. Arrange on prepared sheet 2 inches apart. Cookies will spread as they bake. Bake in centre of oven until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in a airtight container up to 1 week or keep dough refrigerated up to 1 month.

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