Butterscotch refrigerator cookies (and others of its genre, also called icebox cookies) are the original "slice and bake" cookies. This rather brilliant culinary invention allowed one to have a secret weapon in the kitchen -- a roll of cookie dough in the refrigerator, ready to be sliced and baked into delicious, wholesome cookies on a moment's notice. Any extras would make their way into the cookie jar, perfect for an after-school snack following a grueling day in fourth grade.
This vintage recipe is from a c. 1960s Arkansas collection I purchased recently on eBay.
Shall we get started? Simply mix up the dough...
and form it into rolls.
This dough is so quick and easy to put together that I prepared it whilst awaiting the sugar mixture for candy apples to reach 310 degrees, which took an excruciatingly long time. (I also read War and Peace and The Power Broker while waiting.)
Some production notes: I chopped the nuts very, very fine, since I thought that larger pieces might interfere with slicing the cookies. That was probably unnecessary. I also made most of the slices about 1/4 inch wide, not "very thin." But you can slice 'em how you like them. Thin slices make a crispy cookie; thicker ones are a bit more chewy. The oven temperature is high -- these bake very, very quickly.
These butterscotch gems were enjoyed both in New York City and Spirit Lake, Iowa, where my friend Jay brought some on a long-anticipated visit to his Grandma Dusty. Can you believe she's 91? (And thanks to those good Weggy genes, Jay's looking pretty good for 62.) Photo by Iowa-visit-shepherd Stephen Facey.