Today, I found something that had been missing for a long, long time—29 years to be exact. It is my Nana’s recipe for Ice Box cookies. The last time I had a chunk of this delicious cookie dough (or a bite of these crisp delights), I was 16 years old.
My Granddad was still alive and we had no idea my Nana had fairly advanced dementia. My Granddad loved and cherished my Nana (he called her Beebe in all the love letters he wrote to her. I have a whole box to savor!). I think when she began to lose herself and her memories, he hid it all out of love for her. Nana was so smart and together and organized and she was really great at Christmas.
After he died, in January 1993, Nana was basically gone, too.
My mom had the recipe for her Ice Box cookies. I wouldn’t eat them. When my mom gave me my Nana’s recipe boxes, I looked for the recipe, but never found it. And even if I had, I don’t think I would have made them. These were her signature cookies—she’d make endless dough loaves of them and I don’t think we ever left her house without at least two rolls tucked in our to-go bags. One was to slice and bake and the other to eat raw.
But mother DID NOT condone this last part. But Nana and especially Granddad were all in on the raw cookie dough.
In case you are wondering what an Ice Box cookie is, it is a a glorious, sweet, nutty dough you make and form into a log or a loaf and wrap in wax paper. You have to refrigerate before you slice and bake; but you can also freeze and have them for whenever you need some homemade cookies.
I decided that today I wanted to make the Ice Box cookies.
So, I made Chloe look through the boxes. She found the recipe in under 2 minutes (which is truly ideal, because my children never spend more than 2.5 minutes looking for anything.). The recipe has no instructions, but if you know these cookies, you know what to do.
Making them was like riding a bike. Tasting the dough was like being right back in Nana’s kitchen—the built in booth at the end and the counter space with a window overlooking their back garden. Friends, I could feel her all around me. I even forced myself to check my posture—-she was always a stickler for standing up straight!
I wouldn’t want to anger my Nana’s spirit. I have enough problems!
Then, I was worried the dough was too crumbly, but I did the things she taught me and then after the dough got cold, I sliced and I baked and then I tasted my childhood, for the first time in 29 years.
I got to share all these memories with my kids—who loved the cookies, as they should due to the sheer amount of butter and brown sugar. Lily thinks we should enter into a cookie bake-off, but I think I’ll just make sure to send my kids off into the world with two loaves of cookie dough—one to bake and one to eat, just like my Nana always did.