Photo credit Alex J Harris
I’ve been playing around with slice and bake cookies recently, so you may already have seen my Peanut Butter and Honey Slice and Bake Cookies or my Chocolate Chip Slice and Bakes. Based on an old family recipe my late Mom shared with me, this recipe is just a plain cookie, but it has loads of room for variations, and you name it, I’ve tried it! The version I make most often is vanilla nut because it has a chewy butterscotch-y flavour I can’t get enough of. However, the possibilities are endless.
You can use any flavouring you like – vanilla, almond, maple, anise, anything else that tickles your fancy
You can add half a cup to 1 cup of any kind of chopped nuts or dried fruit – walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, apricots, dates – the only limit is your imagination
You can add 2 to 3 teaspoons of any sort of spices – cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg all work really well
As long as you use a total of 1 cup of sugar, it doesn’t matter if it is white, brown or a combination thereof – the combination gives a great flavour, but some variations might lend themselves to using one or the other.
My favourite variations include:-
– vanilla with chopped pecans
- -rum flavouring with raisins
- -maple flavouring with chopped walnuts
- -almond flavouring with finely chopped almonds
Nut free versions:
Use 1 cup of white sugar (no brown) and instead of vanilla, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with granulated sugar before baking if you like.
Instead of vanilla, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger and half a teaspoon nutmeg to the basic recipe. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with demerera sugar before baking if you like.
Flavour the basic recipe with vanilla and add the grated rind of an orange or lemon to it.
This recipe makes cookies with a lovely cake-y texture that keep well at in a sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. The logs of dough will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days chilled, or freeze for up to one month. If you are going to freeze the logs of dough, chill them overnight first, and then pop in the freezer. These cookies can be sliced and baked from frozen, so using this recipe as a base, you can build up a collection of cookie logs in your freezer. Then you can relax in the knowledge that you are never more than 15 minutes away from hot, fresh cookies, and that has to be a good thing, no matter how you slice it!
This recipe makes 2 cookie dough logs, and each log will make about 24 to 28 cookies depending on how thickly you slice them.
1 cup butter (unsalted if possible), softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavouring
2¾ cups plain (all purpose) flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
See above for inspiration for additional/alternative ingredients
Cream the butter by hand or in an electric mixer. Add the sugars and continue creaming. Beat in the eggs and flavouring.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt.
You will need to use a wooden spoon to stir the two mixtures together. Remove the bowl containing the butter and sugar mixture from the mixer. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture all at once together with any nuts, dried fruit or additional ingredients. Be sure to incorporate all the flour.
Take a large piece of waxed or greaseproof paper or baking parchment and sprinkle a little flour on it. Flour your hands a bit as well. Take half the cookie dough and put it in the centre of the paper. Using the paper to help you, shape the dough into a log about 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimetres) long. Repeat with another piece of paper and the rest of the dough
Wrap the dough up tightly in the paper or baking parchment.
Place the cookie dough logs in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. The next day, either freeze the dough, or bake it from chilled.
When you want to bake the frozen or chilled dough, preheat the oven to 350℉ (about 160℃ for a fan oven). Slice the cookie logs into slices just a bit less than one quarter inch thick (about half a centimetre) and place on baking sheets. They don’t spread all that much, but be sure to space them at least an inch apart. Each log will make about 24 to 28 cookies depending on how thickly you slice them.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes from chilled (or 11 to 14 minutes from frozen) until they are lightly golden. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for at least five minutes. Carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.