When I was little, I'd look through my mother's cookbooks and see these old-fashioned recipes for 'icebox cookies'.
But we almost never made them - baking was something you did in the afternoon, not something you started the night before.
Then, this year, I was given a new cookbook by my friend Jacky - one of those classic, everything you might want to bake books. So, faced with the need to prepare something for the Christian Aid Coffee morning at church, I thought I'd try some shortbread. Only to discover that the dough needs to sit in the fridge over night - argh!
But, you know what, I think ice-box cookies might suit our generation even better than that of our grandmothers. I mixed up the dough last night after work, and sliced it this morning for baking before the sale. Brilliant. I do most of my baking at night after the kids are in bed, so I can even see a scenario where I make the dough one night, and bake the next. Spreads out the dirty dishes too.
However, I must confess. I baked one batch last night, when the dough had only chilled for a couple of hours. Not only did it work fine, but the family loved them. Best shortbread we've ever made (translation: they scarfed the lot).
Do check out the cookbook, but here's the recipe if you're curious:
50g light brown sugar (we used light muscovado)
160g spelt flour
plus demerara sugar for rolling
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor (I was just able to jam all the ingredients in my little food processor that attaches the handy blender), until it forms a soft dough. Then roll into a short cylinder and roll in demerara sugar. wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (or longer). Slice into 12-14 rounds - not too thin, and bake on greased cookie sheets for about 30 minutes at 160C.
Remove carefully from the sheets and cool.