Recipe for Auntie Rose’s brown sugar-walnut icebox cookies

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes 6 dozen small cookies

At Christmas my grandmother gave each family a cookie tin filled with specialties from her mother and sisters, who were formidable cooks and bakers. In the mix were Grandma's rocks, filled with nuts and raisins, Moggie's almond crescents, and these icebox cookies from Auntie Rose. My grandmother made all her cookies so small, I marveled at their tiny size. Buttery and dainty, Auntie Rose's cookies, with brown sugar and walnuts, shaped into logs, sliced, and baked, were my favorite.

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Have on hand 2 long sheets, 20 inches each, of strong plastic wrap. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.


2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to blend them.

3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Beat in the vanilla.

4. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, beat in the flour mixture ½ cup at a time, until the dough is smooth. Add the walnuts and mix until distributed.

5. Turn the dough out onto a counter and use a pastry scraper to help shape it into a smooth mound. Divide the dough in half. Set each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll each into a log that is about 1½ inches wide and 12 inches long. Roll the logs under your palms to make them even. Secure the ends. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

7. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice cookies -inch thick. Set them ½-inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, turning the sheets from back to front halfway through baking, or until they are golden brown. Slide the cookies on the parchment onto wire racks to cool. Bake the remaining cookies in the same way. Sally Pasley Vargas