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Vanilla-Chocolate Swirl Icebox Cookies
Vanilla-Chocolate Swirl Icebox Cookies PHOTO: LIZ ANDREW/STYLING: ERIN MCDOWELL

Christmas is our favorite time of year for many reasons. For starters, 'tis the season for baking cookies. This year, try these easy vanilla-chocolate swirl icebox cookies. The beauty here is that you can make the dough ahead of time and bake whenever.

RELATED: 7 Easy Icebox Cookies That Will Make Your Holiday Dreams Come True

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Vanilla Dough

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup sugar

½ cup confectioners' sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Chocolate Dough

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup sugar

½ cup confectioners' sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder (preferably dark cocoa)

¼ teaspoon salt

1. Make the vanilla dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract; mix until combined, 1 minute more. Add the flour and salt; mix until fully incorporated. Thoroughly scrape the dough out of the bowl (so you can use it again for the chocolate dough). Wrap the vanilla dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Make the chocolate dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract; mix until combined, 1 minute more. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt; mix until fully incorporated. Wrap the chocolate dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Combine the doughs: When the doughs have chilled, divide each one into halves and then roll each half into a 1-inch-thick rope. You’ll end up with two vanilla ropes and two chocolate ropes.

6. Prepare two pieces of parchment paper, each the size of a baking sheet. Twist one vanilla rope and one chocolate rope together and then roll them into a log about 2 inches thick.

7. Repeat with the second vanilla and chocolate ropes to make a second log. Wrap each dough log in a piece of parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (Note: The dough can be frozen at this point for up to three months.)

8. Bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

9. Cut the logs of cookie dough into¼-inch-thick slices and transfer to the baking sheets. Leave at least ¾ inch around each cookie to allow room for spreading.

10. Bake the cookies until they are slightly golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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