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Oatmeal Walnut Refrigerator Cookies

Author/Submitted by: MARION CUNNINGHAM
Servings: 30
Categories: Cookies / Desserts / Nuts

1  cup  butter, at room temperature
1  cup  sugar
1  cup  flour
1  teaspoon  baking soda
2  cups  rolled oats
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon  nutmeg
1  cup  chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using electric mixer or by hand. Beat in flour, baking soda, rolled oats, salt, vanilla extract and grated nutmeg until well mixed. Mix walnuts into dough. Divide dough in 1/2. Place 1/2 on 1 sheet of wax paper, fold ends of wax paper over dough and roll up into log so that dough is covered with several layers. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. When ready to use, slice dough into 1/2-inch thick coins, place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and puffy, 12 to 14 minutes.

When I was a child in the late 1920s, our Glendale neighborhood was a small but lively community. Every home was bustling with women, shopping, cooking, washing, ironing, sewing and--not the least of the daily ritual--visiting with neighbors. Those were the days of iceboxes, and one of the best gestures of hospitality was to serve icebox cookies when a neighbor dropped in. Icebox cookies (later, of course, they would be called refrigerator cookies) were and are a great boon for the home baker. They are made with atypical drop cookie dough with most, if not all, of the liquid removed. After mixing the simple ingredients, you shape the dough into a log approximately 10 inches long (it can be as long or short as you wish) and wrap it snugly in wax paper. This dough will keep at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator (or even the icebox), and it can be frozen almost indefinitely. The great thing about this recipe is that you can serve a plate of freshly baked cookies 15 minutes after your neighbor drops in. Of course, you could buy ready-made cookies, but these are much cheaper and better.

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